We try to exercise as much caution as possible during pregnancy, which includes limiting ultrasounds to as few as necessary and not being anywhere near an x-ray machine -- but what about the full-body scans at the airport?
A pregnant woman flying out of Chicago's O'Hare airport tried to play it on the safe side and requested to be groped -- I mean, um, requested the "enhanced pat-down" -- in lieu of going through the machine.
She was ridiculed and mocked instead.
The TSA agent tried to convince her that the scanner was "less than an ultrasound." Less what? Less dangerous? LESS danger still doesn't mean it's acceptable, and you know, TSA agents are certified in safety for pregnant women and all ... right?
She was told, "It's really easy so just go through."
Please explain to me why someone ASKING to be patted down can't do so, for the potential safety of her unborn child, yet they'll grab a mother with three kids out of line and pat her down?
After finally feeling forced to go through, and in tears, she was met with a mocking, "There, that was easy, wasn't it?"
TSA is required to offer alternate screening options -- including a pat-down -- for people who can't or won't go through the scanners.
I've gone through the airport with kids multiple times, and I know how stressful it can be, and how with everyone pushing and rushing around you, people can get really rude if you have to take some extra time. You know, like removing your infant daughter's Robeez, which are obviously such a huge threat. *eyeroll* (Yet they didn't make me take her out of the wrap/carrier ... explain that!)
Mix the stress of traveling with kids, the irritation of people behind you, the feeling of being rushed and then being ridiculed, all mixed with pregnancy hormones, and it's no wonder this woman ended up in tears.
For the record, airport scanners that people walk through don't pose any risk to your unborn baby -- they use a low-frequency electromagnetic field to search for metal things such as weapons. Your luggage, however, undergoes radiation, but your unborn baby is in your belly -- not your bag.
In some international airports, a "backscatter" x-ray machine is used, but is supposedly safe as well.
Have you ever requested to skip the full-body scanner? Why do you think they were so unkind this woman?
Image via redjar/Flickr