Legislation introduced by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace to exempt prospective jurors who are nursing a child from jury duty got the green light from an Assembly panel on Thursday.
The bill (A-2162) would amend the law on jury service to include breastfeeding mothers among those not required to serve.
"As a mother, I know that the time period during which mothers nurse their children can be fundamental for bonding and development," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Women who choose to breastfeed should not be forced to disrupt their child's feeding routine within that first year. This legislation will give nursing mothers a time-limited exemption to accommodate their needs and the needs of their children."
"The common thread that links many of those who may be exempt from jury duty - volunteer firefighters, members of rescue squads, teachers - is that they play an essential role in the lives of those around them," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "It's time to support New Jersey's youngest residents by adding their moms to that list." Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of developing breast cancer and postpartum depression, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Fifteen states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty or allow jury service to be postponed.
The bill was released by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.