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TSA Forces Mom to Pump Breast Milk Before Boarding Plane

TSA Forces Mom to Pump Breast Milk Before Boarding Plane

TSA does not have a good track record when it comes to respecting passengers’ basic privacy. And although they have apologized, the latest story of TSA incompetence does nothing to improve their reputation.

Amy Strand, a mother of four and principal at a public school in Maui, Hawaii, was attempting to go through security with her breast pumping equipment when she was detained by a TSA agent. Strand had, 20 minutes earlier, dumped out her breast milk to avoid any hassle while going through security, so all she had in her bag were the empty bottles and an ice pack. The agent, however, inexplicably informed her that she would not be allowed to bring the ice pack through security unless the bottles were full (who knows how Beyonce would have been treated).

Strand explained to the agent that the ice pack was expensive and that she was not about to leave it behind. He informed her that she had a choice: abandon the pack or fill the bottles.

There was no private room for Strand to pump, so she went to a public bathroom, where the only outlet was near a sink. “I’m in a dress, in heels and I find myself in front of a sink and mirrors with travelers coming in and out of the bathroom,” Strand recounted. “I’m standing at the sink with my breast hanging out, pumping. I wanted to cry. I was humiliated.”

In a statement, TSA apologized for the “apparent misunderstanding,” but claimed that the agent did not force her to go pump breast milk before boarding the plane. TSA also added that the agent would receive remedial training, and that a memo will be sent to other airports so that mothers in similar situations do not face the same treatment. Clearly, though, this is a problem that needs to be handled with more than a memo. Nursing mothers’ needs to be included in any training that TSA agents receive about passengers’ health, so that more moms aren’t bullied by “misinformed” agents. Perhaps more importantly, though, agents should be informed that empty bottles are not more explosive than those filled with breast milk.

Related Stories:

Beyonce Makes Headlines for Nursing Her Daughter in Public

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Breastfeeding Lawyer-Mom Bullied By TSA Agents

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113 comments

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11:31PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

To Pam W. who asks: "Are female terrorists using breast milk BOMBS? Does ANYONE at TSA have a lick of sense?"

The short answer is "no".

The LONG answer is:

NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!

9:58PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Are female terrorists using breast milk BOMBS? Does ANYONE at TSA have a lick of sense?

9:56PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

noted

6:19AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

Oh, for pete's sake!!
How can an empty breast pump and cooler pack be a threat to national security and 20 minutes later, with milk, they don't pose a threat to security?
That dude was "out to lunch" in the brain department.

10:46PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Between breast milk and insulin pumps, it seems that the TSA can stand a whole bunch of sensitivity training.

12:55PM PDT on May 11, 2012

TSA is a joke. They confiscate so many things that are harmless. I bet the have a field-day dividing the loot up!

6:44AM PDT on May 2, 2012

No one should have that much cotroll over your body functions to be able tell you when to pump your milk. It seems as if their brains have had their brains pumped.

10:13AM PDT on May 1, 2012

This is sickening.

9:52AM PDT on May 1, 2012

Totally insane. Security has gone over the edge in US airports.

7:58PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

What!? Crazy.

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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