Cuomo signs law that gives breastfeeding mothers jury duty exemption

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In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo, Nathan and Jessica Ewald hold their 5-month-old son, Bennett, at their home in Oakbrook Terrace. Like many new moms, she got a hospital goody bag with supplies including free formula and formula coupons that she gave away as soon as she got home. Ewald, the daughter of a breast-feeding activist who fought to get those goody bags out of hospitals, says hospitals sending newborns home with formula can really undermine a woman’s determination to breast-feed. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law Monday that gives breastfeeding mothers an option for jury duty exemption.

“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,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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.”

The new law will postpone jury duty service for up to two years.

To postpone jury duty, the applicant must submit a note from a physician with her postponement application to verify she is breastfeeding. The service must not have already been postponed or excused.

“We are working to increase access and reduce the stigma for breastfeeding mothers in New York,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a statement. “This new law will give mothers who are breastfeeding the option to postpone jury duty to help ensure the care and support needed during their pregnancy. This action builds on our efforts as part of the Women’s Justice Agenda, working to achieve equality and justice for all New Yorkers. We will not stop fighting to make sure women’s rights are protected, and attain true gender equality once and for all.”

The law takes effect immediately.

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