(Last updated March 5, 2005)

Michigan Hall of SHAME! p 5

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Abby Aldrich’s story:

Abby Aldrich, 25, is the mother of one-year-old twins Lena and Liberty. A stay-at-home mom in Michigan, Abby had been nursing for 10 months when she received a jury duty summons. "I was scared because I had been exempted the previous year due to being on bed rest during my pregnancy," says Abby "At the time of my first exemption I got a notice stating that I would be expected to serve the following year -- no exceptions."

On the urging of a friend who had successfully claimed exemption to jury service because of nursing, Abby immediately faxed a letter to the judge who had summoned her. In the letter, Abby explained that nursing was a special health consideration for her twins, who were born prematurely and remained at risk for respiratory ailments.

Although Abby did receive an exemption, a courthouse official told her that "the judge wanted to make sure I knew that there would be no more exemptions."

The official also stressed that Abby would be expected to serve in March 2001 when the twins will be 23 months old -- even though Abby made it clear in her letter that she intended to nurse for two years or more.  "I highly doubt they will be weaned by then," says Abby.

"I think that nursing mothers and stay-at-home parents should be able to be exempted for as long as they need to be. A lot of mothers I know don't have anybody that they trust to care of their children. What would they do [about jury duty]?"

- Abby Aldrich
From: www.breastfeed.com, 2000-2001

Michigan residents, please see information on Michigan House Bill 4455,  which would have allowed parents or guardians having active care and custody of a child under the age of 4 (during the courts’ normal hours of operation), to defer jury service, upon request.  The above link will explain how you can help with ongoing efforts to enact  this worthy, family-affirming initiative.

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