On October 1, 2011, I sat on the bathroom floor of the LSAT test center pumping milk for my 5 month old son. I felt dirty, embarrassed, stressed, and alone. Things no one should feel as they are in the midst of taking one of the most important exams of their life. An exam that is key to gaining entry into a profession that fights for and defends the rights of all individuals to compete on an even playing field so they can live up to their full potential.
A few months before signing up to take the LSAT, I called the organization that administers the LSAT, the Law Schools Admissions Council, and asked if I could get an additional 15 minutes added to the break time provided, and be given a private place to pump breast milk. LSAC denied my application because breastfeeding is not considered a “disability.”
The fact that they expect a nursing mother to arrive at 8:00 am and then leave at 2:30pm with only one fifteen minute break is inexcusable. Nursing women need to pump every two to three hours when they are not with their babies. What’s more, pumping breast milk is difficult to do, and requires relaxation. By the time I hooked up my equipment in the bathroom and achieved let down (something that is near impossible while surrounded by the smell of human waste), I was only able to pump two ounces as opposed to my usual seven to eight ounces every two to three hours. I also had to eat my snack and drink my only beverage in this same amount of time.
By the end of the fourth section of the test I was in serious pain, I was leaking breast milk everywhere and my breasts were hard as rocks. All I could think was push through the pain and focus. You are fighting to claim your destiny in a profession you were called to do. You are fighting to provide a future for your family. You are fighting to show your children that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. So I fought on.
With the passage of Barack Obama's health care package, which requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private place to pump to new moms, and the health initiative set forth by Michelle Obama promoting breastfeeding, I had thought my bathroom breast pumping days were over. Think not my fellow mothers! There is still work to be done. No woman should have to take such a high-stakes test under conditions like I did, that put me at such a disadvantage compared to my peers.
For those of you that have called, emailed, and left comments for LSAC thank you for your support. For those who have not yet voiced your concerns help me bring LSAC into the 21st century. It is time to unleash the floodgates and let LSAC know this will not stand.
So far we have sent over 6,000 messages to LSAC’s board. Help us reach 10,000 messages, sending a strong message to LSAC that nursing mothers should not be put at a disadvantage during the LSAT. After you’ve taken action speak out on LSAC’s Facebook Page!