From New York to California, states all across the United States are starting to make life a little bit easier for moms who choose to breastfeed. Not only have all 50 states legalized the right for women to breastfeed in public, but now, states are allowing breastfeeding moms to be exempt from jury duty.
The most recent state to list breastfeeding as an acceptable exemption from their civic duty is New York. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Monday, which will allow breastfeeding mothers to be exempt from jury duty for up to two years.
And New York isn’t the first state to help nursing mothers in this way: 17 states and Puerto Rico so far have bills similar to the one Cuomo signed on October 21, National Conference of State Legislatures reports.
Those states include California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.
In a statement, Cuomo said this of his decision to sign the bill, allowing breastfeeding mother to be exempt from jury duty:
“While jury service is a critically important civic duty, we also know new moms oftentimes juggle countless responsibilities and navigate enormous adjustments in the early stages of their child’s life. This commonsense measure takes that reality into account by providing new moms the flexibility and option to postpone jury service while they care for a newborn.”
Breastfeeding moms can exempt themselves if called for jury duty by submitting a doctor’s note. The exception is that “you must not have postponed or been excused from duty previously.”
Senator Velmanette Montgomery thanked Cuomo for signing the bill, saying that it “removes one extra source of stress” from a nursing mom’s already busy and demanding life. Montgomery and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo sponsored the bill, Spectrum News reports.
New York State also allows incarcerated mothers to breastfeed and care for their infant until they reach 1-year-old. And New York employers are also required to give breastfeeding mothers reasonable (though unpaid breaks) so that they can pump.
The decision to breastfeed is a very personal one, and while research suggests that breastfed babies may receive some health benefits, at the end of the day, it’s most important that moms and families make the best choice for them.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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