In-Depth: Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) introduced this bill to improve the TSA screening experience for pregnant women and young families at airports:
“For pregnant women and families with young children, traveling is already a stressful and time-consuming task. This bill aims to ease the burden on pregnant women and families while being screened at airports. By requiring improved training for TSA officers, better informing women and families of TSA procedures, and offering support specialists, we can make the airport experience for women and families quicker and easier.”
After this bill passed the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Lesko added that this legislation “will help make the airport experience for women and families quicker and easier while keeping our nation safe.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) adds:
“We all know how difficult it can be to get through security at our airports, especially for expecting mothers or families with young children. This legislation will help improve travelers experience, protect pregnant mothers while ensuring the men and women of the TSA can do their jobs and keep our nation safe.”
This legislation unanimously passed the House Homeland Security Committee with the support of 12 bipartisan cosponsors, including eight Republicans and four Democrats.
Of Note: The TSA says its body scanners have been thoroughly testing to ensure they’re safe for everyone, including pregnant women. However, for pregnant women who’d rather avoid the body scanner, there’s an option to ask for a pat down by a female TSA agent instead. These procedures have prompted complaints from pregnant women.
Writing for Scary Mommy, blogger Alyssa Jensen recounts that “opting out” of the full body scanner isn’t as easy as TSA would have pregnant women believe. Recalling an incident in which a TSA employee was unhappy about her choice to opt out of the body scanner in favor of a pat down, she complained:
“[W]ho would choose to have a full body pat down instead of just going through the machine? My thought is no one unless they had a really good reason. Let me just tell you, having someone all up in your business is not my idea of a good time… I find it totally unreasonable that it’s much easier to go through security with a baby (I’ve done it more times than I can count) then to go through while pregnant. When I fly with my son, I walk up, stroll through the metal detector (never a full body scanner) and go on with my day. What is the magical difference about the baby being outside instead of in?”
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Anna Bortnikova)