A mother-to-be is upset... and it's not because of hormones.

Kristen Pagano, who is expecting a newborn daughter in January 2015, was left angered and disappointed over refusal from the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar to grant requests she made for helping her pump breast milk while taking her exam in February, according to Above The Law.

"Here I am, a hormonal, emotional pregnant woman, bawling my eyes out about this,” Pagano told Above The Law. “All I’m thinking about is how I am supposed to complete (and pass) the exam if I have to physically leave the room every time I pump? Do I really have to pump in an unsanitary bathroom (which could be on the opposite of the building)? Do I sacrifice my health (and my child’s) and sit there with painful, engorged, maybe even leaky breasts in order to complete the exam?"

The expectant mother originally requested a sanitary room for her to pump milk with a female monitor present, access to refrigerated storage, and break periods of 20 to 30 minutes every two hours so she can pump along with additional time to make up for the breaks or an alternative exam schedule. The board denied her requests on the basis that Pagano does not meet the standards for an alternative testing situation.

“Nursing, as I’m sure you are aware, is not a physical disability and therefore not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and would not require you to complete Non Standard Testing Accommodation forms,” said Carrie Heriford, the Board’s Deputy Director of Bar Examinations, in a letter to Pagano.

The board instead offered other accommodations they deemed more “reasonable,” including allowing her to leave the exam to pump, directions to the nearest restroom, and a chair for her convenience while she pumps in the restroom. They did, however, encourage her to try and pump only before the exam and during her lunch break.

Pagano, though, argues that the board accommodations are unhelpful as not having additional time to make up for breast pump breaks lowers her chances of completing the test, estimating that such arrangements could take up to 50 minutes. She is also concerned about pumping milk in an unsanitary area and argues that she runs the risk of infection if she does not pump throughout the exam, along with stress and anxiety that can interfere with her ability to do well on it. Pagano even asked if she could pump milk while taking the exam.

Illinois is one of 46 states that legally allows women to breast feed (and probably breast pump as well) anywhere in public at any time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pagano, who studied law in California but recently moved to Illinois with her husband, says she has to take the exam soon so she can get her license and start earning an income.

“I’m not one of those crazy feminists, but I am an unemployed woman with serious law school debt that just wants to get back in the workforce and support my family,” she told Above The Law. “The only way I can do that is to pass this darn Illinois exam, and the soonest I can do that is February.”

She has currently asked that her request be reconsidered, which the board will address on their agenda at their meeting on Nov. 21.

Heriford and Pagano could not be reached for comment.

Published by Medicaldaily.com