Breast feeding could lead to jail time for mom. : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

From the Libertarian Press Release;

WASHINGTON, DC -- An Idaho mother may be thrown into jail because she thinks that breast-feeding her daughter is more important than jury duty -- and she's 100% correct to think that, says the Libertarian Party.

"This is a case of a hungry child versus a power-hungry government that doesn't care about families," charged Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party national director. "Sadly, the government may win, and one small child may temporarily lose her mother because of an unfair, inflexible mandatory jury duty system.

"Courts are supposed to produce justice -- but no justice can come from a system that has the power to toss a mother into a jail cell because she wants to nourish her daughter."

On March 13, Siri Wright of Boise, Idaho will face contempt of court charges at the Ada County Courthouse. Her crime: Refusing to predict for a jury commissioner when she will stop breast-feeding her two-year-old daughter.

Supporters say Wright may have been targeted because of her unusual child-rearing method -- "ecological breast-feeding" -- which allows children to wean themselves during a process that can take two to three years.

Wright had first been called for jury duty in 1998, and was given a one-year postponement because she was breast-feeding. Called back in mid-1999, she said she could not predict when her daughter would wean herself.

Despite the fact that Idaho law specifically excuses breast-feeding mothers from jury duty, the Jury Commissioner ordered her to report for jury duty on December 9 -- in effect, ordering Wright to stop breast-feeding.

If convicted of contempt, Wright faces three days in jail and a $100 fine. And, more importantly, she would be separated from her daughter and son for the first time in their lives.

The case is a stark reminder that while politicians talk about "helping families," the actual effect of government policies is frequently the exact opposite, said Dasbach.

"Mothers, not judges, should decide when to breast-feed their children," he said. "Any legal system that considers mandatory jury duty more important than dedicated mother duty -- and would literally rip a nursing child out of the arms of her loving mother -- is a system that is the very definition of family-unfriendly."

How would Libertarians solve the conflict between nursing mothers and the public need for juries?

End mandatory jury duty, suggested Dasbach.

"Compulsory jury duty rests on the assumption that your first obligation is to serve the state, not to serve yourself and your family," he said. "Jury duty is important, but it shouldn't override a mother's right to feed her child."

Besides, said Dasbach, there's a simple way to ensure an adequate jury pool without trampling anyone's rights: Make jury service voluntary.

"As long as there are people willing to act as jurors for the small payment the courts offer, the state has no reason to force unwilling people to serve," he said. "And if that isn't adequate, why not have paid professional juries, staffed by people who want to do the job -- instead of people who are forced to do it? Either solution is better than forcing unwilling parents into jury duty against theirwill.

"As the case of Siri Wright makes clear, it's the government that really needs to be weaned -- from the notion that civic duty is more important than family duty."


-- Uncle Deedah (, March 09, 2000


You really HAVE BEEN out of the loop. This was already discussed last week or so, and the latest is that she's been given until some time in 2001 or something, at which time they'll see if the child is still nursing.

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 09, 2000.

Ok people, I've been frozen for thirty years, cut me a frickin break here. Just look at what it's done to Mr. Bigglesworth.

-- Dr Evil (, March 10, 2000.

You know everyone can believe what they what and should have aright to do so, but dang a child that old has teeth. OH Oh Heck that hurts.

-- ET (, March 10, 2000.

Some of us have a life, this is the first I read of this and why I vote Libertarian even though the local newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle, doesn't even tally Libertarian votes in the newspapers after the elections....

Screw this judge and his one year extension...

Her mistake was in not aiming the damm note in the circular file. Unless it was sent registered mail, I dont see why she couldnt just claim to have never gotten it or seen it. There's no law against throwing away your mail unread or unseen, or is there???

-- INever (, March 10, 2000.

Comme on all of you read history, not every one has been as blessed as you have. when yo gotta suck a titty to live you will know. IHOPE

-- tiddy sucker (grapes of, March 10, 2000.

After being royally screwed by a judge during a divorce, I have nothing but contempt for the court system, judges and blood sucking attorneys.

A year ago I received a notice to be on jury duty. I did not open the envelope, but wrote on it "they moved to california" and also "return to sender" and put it in a mailbox. I never heard from them again.

-- ... (, March 10, 2000.

Personally, I'm glad this story got posted and the subject is back up again because I meant to give my two cents earlier but didn't have time. There are some groups of people who are exempted and these vary from state to state. In my state, as I remember, the individuals exempted were pharmacists, police officers and other law enforcement, firefighters, individuals with current serious health problems under a physician's care with a statement from that physician, of course. I was rather pissed when I was summoned and told the judge that I declined jury duty because I worked 12MN-8AM as a telephone triage nurse and would not be able to be stay awake from 8am-4pm for jury duty on those mornings following my shifts and that my husband and I worked opposite shifts to care for our two children, then 2 and 5 and we did not use daycare and that it would create a hardship for our family. Too bad, not my problem. When I found out about the existence of exemptions for other groups, needless to say I was quite angry. But as I understand it, the laws vary from state to state and have to be changed within the state's statutes. Bitched at the time to my representatives but didn't pursue it. Still plan on it, just not enough time. This article reminded me of the anger I felt then and the indignation of being treated like my life and personal physical discomfort from sleep deprivation was nothing and the fact that they would mandate someone to function on a jury while operating at minimal capacity spoke volumes for the judicial system IMO. Anyway, just my two cents.

-- Ma Kettle (, March 10, 2000.

Phooey! I know two nursing mothers who express milk and leave it with the grandmas or sitters, or dads when something comes up they either need to do, want to do, or have to do. No child will suffer trauma as an adult from missing a few meals at the titty. Hell I ate at Burger King once about 15 years ago, and I'm still alive and not traumatized.

This woman is making a mountain out of a mole hill. So she doesn't want to do jury duty, not many do. Read my reply on old thread.

And "...forcing unwilling parents into jury duty against their will." How Awful!! Just wait until their little Jane or James grows up and is in the dock for smokin' a roach, selling it, or worse.. I'll bet those mommies will be screaming their heads off for some compassionate parents to be on jury duty.

-- gilda (, March 10, 2000.

If any on you even knew what Libertarians were, you'd be one yourself. Go Mama Bush's Mama's Boy!

-- ,-, (comma@dash.comma), March 10, 2000.

I nursed all seven of our kids. Just as all pregnancies, labors and deliveries have their differences and quirks, so do nursing relationships. There are different nursing 'styles' and personalities. With some babies it went as smooth as silk, and with others it was more 'work'. This was possibly related to health and stress factors, but with some babies it just seemed there was easily enough milk, and with some I had to be careful not to miss or delay a feeding. Also, there is mastitis to consider. With some babies, it can happen so easily, and disruptions to the routine nursing times can easily bring it on. It's a painful bearcat that can make you very ill. In any case, I felt they all deserved their time, and let all but two (and regret those two being forced...) dictate the end of that unique bonding time. I hated expressing milk (it was tediously slow and awkward), and even though you can use a pump, you are not necessarily relaxed using that, especially if you are not used to it. When the natural rhythms of the nursing relationship are disrupted, it can adversely alter the ability to sustain it. Jury duty is probably not an extremely popular thing, but surely there are enough citizens out there without bothering mothers of children who are not yet school age. Our society tends to devalue the role of 'mother' (other than crass commercialism) and values the important 'professional'. Too bad and very sad. It sounds like there was possibly a personality clash, a power struggle, and a particularly odious and arrogant jury supervisor. You can easily replace a young mother's spot on the jury. The time you have with a child is simply irreplaceable and never to be repeated. Government should back off and bug off in this case.

-- Mumsie (, March 10, 2000.

Mumsie, I agree the time with your child is irreplaceable, but as a single mom at that time in my life, I had to earn a living, some of us do/did not have the luxury of being full time moms, no matter how much we would like to. It simply wasn't an option. Of course I could have gone on welfare and stayed home, but I would rather have died first.

So, I simply had to fill bottles, and haul my child to a sitter. But if he suffered any ill effects, they don't show. And he and I are closer than many mothers and kids who were practically joined at the hip, or should I say, the "tit"when they were babies and preschoolers. In fact, I would say it made him a very self-reliant, well adjusted, good natured child. Fortunately, his wife can stay home and breat feed their two.

-- gilda (, March 10, 2000.

Hi gilda! I'm not trying to say it would 'damage' the child in any terrible tangible way, not in the slightest, but that their relationship (the mother/child bond in the earliest years) is worth the respect of our society. There are, of course, certain health benefits for the babies who receive breast milk. That's rather a marvelous thing when it works out. Personally, I have strong feelings about forcing a separation between a mother and baby period. Unless it is absolutely necessary, which it doesn't seem to be, they should allow exemptions for the primary caretakers of preschool age children, IMHO. I had to go to work with my first two, but not while they were infants. I went back to work when they were toddling, and it was for financial reasons (...same as most people I imagine...I preferred to live above poverty level and was tired of living with cockroaches in an apartment). My sister and best friend both HAD to go back to work almost immediately. One used formula, one had a pump, and it was difficult both ways. I just hope that the mothers (and others) who would get exemptions appreciate it, and serve cheerfully when their time comes down the road.

My husband was a bottle baby, and so he likes to tease his mother and give her grief about it, but you couldn't find a funnier, kinder or more loving person around, so hooray for formula! The irony was, he more or less forced me into nursing the firstborn because of the terrible allergies (asthma) that ran in his family. I KNOW I would have utilized the bottle much more otherwise. The problem was, I tried the convenience of formula along with nursing when my second was born, and he developed terrible allergies. I never dared use it again. Too many trips to the emergency room with him scared me from even trying.

There are a lot of bunny trails to an issue like this, but I'd just like to see the government tap the jury pool elsewhere until the kids are school age.

-- Mumsie (, March 11, 2000.

Gilda and Mumsie:

I think you both should look at the age of the nursing child in question. The issue here is NOT whether the mom needs to extract milk to feed the child. The child is nursing strictly for comfort. This is the woman's second [youngest] child. The child *I* had that chose to continue nursing until 2 years of age was the MIDDLE child. I was nursing her younger brother as well. Her "needs" had nothing to do with nutrition, and she tended to only want the breast first thing upon waking or last thing before bed. In that regard, had I not had the younger nursing child, I could have served on a jury all day every day without the older child missing a thing.

The first article presented regarding this situation was followed by another that stated a) the first notice wasn't returned because the woman was on vacation b} she refused to provide the documentation necessary to "prove" she was nursing, etc. It struck ME as someone who simply didn't want to serve and was using nursing as an excuse to gather support for her decision.

I haven't looked into the laws in her state, but it's always been MY understanding that states send a query before they send a request to serve. I got one when my kids were young. I checked "young children" and wasn't called until 15 years later.

I hesitate to support ANY story until both sides of the story are clear. This woman is getting a LOT of press and sympathy. How many other women are in the same position but are NOT getting support? What are THEY doing?

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 11, 2000.

Anita, I received a summons to appear for jury duty-no query- (Oklahoma) and assumed that a no show might precipitate a contempt order/and a sheriff visit. I didn't investigate the validity of the summons, I just went. I admit readily that I didn't want to serve-- the time constraints and work schedules we were juggling stretched us to the max, with no slack, just my husband and me doing the balancing act. So I said no and said why when I got asked. I didn't make the query. Also, as I remember, the other exemptions allowed were situations where individuals who had responsibility for the total care of dependent elderly parents were excused by the judge from jury service. A bit inconsistent-dependency vs. dependency IMO. Anyway, I agree that it appears the woman doesn't want to serve on the jury and is citing her role as breastfeeding mom as the reason. I don't mind, she can not want to do jury service. She can think or feel anyway she wants. I think that other groups (perhaps on her request, I don't know) ACLU,Libertarians,and the radical breast feeders or advocates of breast feeding past the age of sole nutritional dependence on either formula or breast milk or both-- have taken this opportunity to highlight their perspectives on this wonman's situation and perhaps cloud the issue rather than address whether she is exempt or not in her state for her responsibility to care for her young children. That's what I thought was said initially in the article and the judge was overlooking the exemption.

-- Ma Kettle (, March 11, 2000.

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