The union that represents nearly 30,000 flight attendants at American Airlines says it won’t “sit silently” while abortion rights and other freedoms are “ripped away from us”.
Flight attendants are poised to be at the front of reproductive rights protest action following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), around 78 percent of flight attendants in 2018 were female and most are part of America’s resurgent labor movement.
The outspoken attack against the Supreme Court’s majority ruling by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) puts AA’s crew members at odds with the Texas-based airline. So far, American Airlines has refused to publicly comment on the ruling.
Texas already had one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States following the passing of the so-called Heartbeat Bill last year but Texas House Bill 1280 is set to make abortion a second-degree felony.
There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The only permitted abortion is when the pregnancy could kill or severely physically injure the mother.
The trigger law is set to take effect within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a sobering reminder that personal choice is under attack in this country,” the AA flight attendant union told its member shortly after the ruling was made published.
“APFA and other Union partners are responsible for working together to ensure our members’ rights are preserved and protected,” the memo continued.
“The safety and security of our Flight Attendants are the highest priority to APFA. We will continue to advocate for and protect our members’ civil rights and liberties. We cannot and will not sit silently while the freedoms in our nation are slowly ripped away from us.”
APFA echoed a warning from the largest flight attendant union in the United States, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) who claims the Justices may now take aim at birth control access, consensual sex between people of the same sex, and gay marriage.
The United Airlines flight attendant union has called on airline management to speak up in defense of human rights but airlines have so far struck a neutral tone on the subject of abortion and have refused to criticize the Supreme Court’s decision.
AFA acknowledges that many flight attendants will “hold a wide range of personal beliefs about the topic of abortion” even if the union’s official policy is to advocate for abortion rights.
Alaska Airlines says it will continue to cover travel expenses for staffers who need to travel out of state to obtain a medical procedure – including abortion.
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.