When Laura Trickle, a Missouri woman and breastfeeding mother, was summoned to serve last month, she explained to the court that she was nursing her son. According to the Kansas City Star, they would not exempt her, so, she went anyway -- avoiding contempt of court, a possible $500 fine or jail time -- and brought her now-7-month-old son with her.
Turns out she faces contempt of court charges anyway.
When Trickle arrived with the baby, the judge gave the new mom two options: find a babysitter or “use a private room to pump milk and store it, feeding it to their children later.” Trickle says neither plan would work because she was a stay-at-home mom with no child-care options, a working husband, and an infant who does not take a bottle.
"I would be able to pump on breaks, unfortunately Axel doesn't take a bottle, so that's not an option for us,” she told KCTV5. “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 a home mom we don't have childcare."
Unlike neighboring Kansas, Missouri does not yet exempt breastfeeding mothers from court duties, (though there is a bill circulating in the state legislature to change that.)
Considering that it’s a national goal to have breastfeeding mothers breastfeed their children longer, one would hope the “Show-Me” state might act quickly.
Jackson County Presiding Judge Marco Roldan told the Star that he actually does take personal issues -- including breastfeeding -- into account.
“I am very protective of our jurors,” said Roldan. “They are the foundation of our system.”
On the other hand, he said, having a large pool of jurors to choose from is also in the interest of the system.
Maria Guido, a blogger for Mommyish is one of a growing chorus who support Trickle. Unless and until Missouri changes its law to excuse breastfeeding mothers, she suggests another solution.
"You can’t force a breastfeeding mother to part with a child who won’t take a bottle. If the county is so hell-bent on breastfeeding mothers showing up for jury duty, they should provide daycare so all women they refuse to exempt can serve," she wrote.
For now, Trickle will just have to appear in court on Thursday.
Clarification: The language in this article has been amended to reflect that, per AP, Trickle's son is currently 7 months old.