Breast-Feeding Mom Says TSA to Pay $75K to Settle Lawsuit
(LOS ANGELES) -- The California woman who sued the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after agents told her she had to put her stored breast milk through an X-ray machine says the agency plans to settle her lawsuit for $75,000.
Airport surveillance video of Stacey Armato’s January 2010 encounter with the TSA screeners at Arizona’s Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport had parenting communities in an uproar.
It shows Armato, who had recently given birth to a baby boy, showing her breast milk to a screener, and then being directed to stand in a transparent enclosure after she said she asked for an alternate way to screen three bottles of breast milk.
She says she was held in that enclosure for some time.
“The manager told me your milk either needs to go in the trash or go in the X-ray, and as a breast-feeding mom that just, neither was an option for me,” the 34-year-old Hermosa Beach, Calif., resident said in an interview with ABC News' Good Morning America.
Armato says she had even printed out the agency’s own rules to back up her request.
“They threw her in a glass enclosure before they allowed her to have her breast milk alternately screened,” said Robert Mosier, Armato’s lawyer.
Armato says she felt “totally humiliated.”
“It’s a glass container with hundreds of passengers passing by on either side. You’re being totally ignored. You’re asking to speak with someone -- the manager and the supervisor and no one is giving you any answers yet they stand right there and watch like you are an animal in a cage,” she said.
Asked why she didn’t want her breast milk being put through an X-ray machine, Armato replied: “We work really hard to eat well, exercise and drink lots of water and make sure that we have really nutritious food, milk for our children.”
Several medical experts consulted by ABC News said they thought it highly unlikely that the TSA screening machines would have damaged the breast milk at all.
When contacted by ABC News, the TSA referred to a statement on its website that breast milk should be treated “in the same manner as liquid medication” at security checkpoints.
“Parents flying with, and without, their child(ren) are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than 3 ounces as long as it is presented for inspection at the security checkpoint,” the statement reads.
Armato says she believes her situation could help make things easier for mothers who travel.
“We’ve been promised that they would retrain everybody and heed great importance to this issue,” she said, “and I think that breast-feeding moms can feel good about that.”
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