Friday, November 19, 2010

Breast-Cancer Survivors and the TSA's Gropes

I've been telling people this for months, and now I see it's finally becoming an issue. Women who are breast cancer survivors and who wear prosthetic bras are suddenly vulnerable to TSA sexual groping because of these new body-scan machines.

This is another problem that I am astonished the TSA did not anticipate. The body-scan machines detect mass of any sort on the body -- including in a prosthetic bra. (The old metal-detector machines don't show that, of course).

This means that women wearing prosthetic bras -- women who have been through the ordeal of breast cancer -- are now subject to intense physical groping. That occurs even when they've taken the normal precautions not to trigger an alarm at the checkpoint, whether in the metal detector or a body-scanner.

The media are generally clueless on this subject, because they're simply not paying attention. And the ones who are trying to pay attention don't get it. To quote Bill Moyers again, reporters are paid to explain things they don't understand.

A local TV station in Charlotte, N.C., does get part of it, at least. WBTV has this report on a flight attendant and cancer survivor who was forced to show her prosthetic breast so that a couple of humps from the TSA could examine it. And this was in August, before the current regime of even more hysterical use of body-scanners and gropes.

Here's the WBTV report. By the way, the text of the report links to what is described as TSA procedures for prosthetic devices. It's inaccurate. These actually are old procedures designed for those with metallic prosthetic devices and implants that routinely trigger the old metal detectors. The TSA has not yet been required to address its thinking on non-metallic prostheses such as prosthetic bras, and whether women who wear them can expect to be forced to strip down and show them to screeners, after they've been spotted on a strip-search machine.


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