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Airport security remains miserable for breast cancer survivors and other people with prosthesis after three years of harassment by TSA. USA Today reports several incidents this week taken from the Arizona Republic (Sean Holstege, The Arizona Republic, October 12, 2013)

The USA Today account reports:

An 82-year-old woman in a wheelchair reaches the front of the security-screening line at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 4 as she waits to board a flight to London on a Friday evening in June 2012.

The metal detector beeps over her chest. She explains she has a prosthesis. She’d opted out of reconstructive surgery after the breast cancer.

Transportation Security Administration agents take the woman to a room and order her to take off her blouse. Then her bra. Then her prosthesis, which they examine. The elderly woman strips to her waist, with nothing to hide her scars.”

This sort of abuse is not limited to breast cancer survivors but across the spectrum of people with disabilities and medical devices. Another example in the Arizona Republic article cited that:

A 92-year-old man with childhood polio was ordered out of his wheelchair to stand up in the body-scanning machine. His grandson reported overhearing one TSA screener shout: “Find out if he has his knees and hips. If he does, then there is no reason he can’t stand.”

Complaints records confirmed that the number of complaints regarding disabilities more than doubled in 2012 from 11 in 2011. And the 2012 figure is about 2 1/2 times the national average.

In November of 2010, U.S. Airways flight attendant Cathy Bossi made headlines (Suzanne Choney, NBC,

11/20/2010) when she was forced to remove her prosthetic breast by a TSA screener. In that incident she reported that:

“The TSA screener “put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’ ” Bossi told the station. “And I said, ‘It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll need to show me that.’ ”

She added that “she removed the prosthetic from her bra. She did not take the name of the agent, she said, “because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn’t believe someone had done that to me. I’m a flight attendant. I was just trying to get to work.”

Despite repeated claims of “improvement” by TSA, there is clear evidence that these abuses continue to be the norm, not the exception.

Now a trip through airport security for many with medical issues is reminiscent of the days of the East German Stasi. The next time you think that TSA is necessary to ensure airline security ask yourself this; Is this the America we want?.

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