Breast-Feeding Mom Laura Trickle Held in Contempt of Court

By ABC News

Oct 21, 2013 10:52am

A Missouri mother is fighting back against a contempt of court charge for breast-feeding her then 5-month-old son while on jury duty.

Laura Trickle of Lee’s Summit told Jackson County court officials that she was breast-feeding her son, Axel, when she received her summons in August.

Trickle says officials told her to report to court and either arrange for child care or bring someone to the courthouse with her who could care for her child.

When Trickle appeared for jury selection Sept. 3 with Axel in tow, the judge gave her two options, she says

“I would be able to pump on breaks. Unfortunately, Axel doesn’t take a bottle, so that was not an option for us,” Trickle told ABC News.  “The other option was to have someone stay with me all day and then be able to nurse on breaks. But since I’m a stay-at-home mom, we don’t have child care.”

Trickle soon received a court order while at her home charging that she “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.”

She is scheduled to appear in court Thursday in Jackson County where she says she plans to fight the charge and fine of up to $500.

“It is not right.  It is not fair for us,” Trickle told KCTV.  “We’re just trying to do what is best for our children, and we shouldn’t be penalized and fined for it.”

Jackson County Court officials did not reply to ABC News’ request for comment.

Missouri is one of 39 states where breast-feeding women are not exempt from jury duty.  State Sen. Rob Schaaf, a doctor, says he is drafting legislation to exempt them from service.

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