A fringe doctors group that packs a big political punch claims United Airlines’ vaccine mandate is an “alarming gateway to promote public allowance of abortion” and that the airline booked a ticket to “tyranny” by requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has called on an appeals court to publish, in full, its opinion on United’s vaccine mandate after the airline lost an appeal in a lawsuit brought by several unvaccinated employees.
The employees alleged United failed to offer them a reasonable accommodation for their religious beliefs or medical exemption when the airline instead chose to place them onto unpaid leave status because they remained unvaccinated.
Soon after United lost the appeal, lawyers acting on behalf of the carrier moved to vacate the panel opinion. On the same day, United allowed unvaccinated employees who had been granted a religious or medical exemption to return to work.
When United sent unvaccinated employees home without pay in November 2021, it said they would not be welcome to return until the pandemic no longer posed a threat to public health. Unvaccinated workers were recalled earlier this month.
General Counsel for the AAPS, Andrew Schlafly also claims United’s vaccine mandate was a gateway to infringing parental rights, negating freedom to practice one’s religion, violating the patient-physician relationship, and limiting the ability to earn a living.
The AAPS is sometimes described as an ultra-conservative pressure group which represents just 5,000 members. The organization was formed in 1943 to oppose an early attempt to offer universal healthcare for the American people.
For a fringe organization, the AAPS wields considerable clout. The organization has been at the forefront of debates on abortion, HIV, opioids, gun control and greater access to healthcare.
More recently, the AAPS has opposed vaccine mandates and has questioned the safety profile of COVID-19 vaccines.
In January, United chief executive Scott Kirby sought to defend the airline’s vaccine mandate, arguing that at the height of the Omicron outbreak some 3,000 employees were off sick with COVID-19 but not a single vaccinated worker had ended up in the hospital.
The mandate, Kirby claimed, was saving lives.
The AAPS takes a different view. “Vaccine mandates are instruments of control, and what United did in advancing such control should not be encouragedfor future corporate leviathans to imitate,” the AAPS says in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.