Alaska Airlines was the first airline to take a stand following the US Supreme Court’s decision to reverse an old constitutional right that American women had to abortion under certain circumstances. In a statement, the airline said it would continue to reimburse travel costs to employees who needed to undergo the procedure, it said in a statement.
The decision, from now on, will depend on each state. Missouri became the first state to make abortion illegal shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision. Twelve other states, including Texas, Idaho and Utah, must implement bans. Abortion, however, will likely remain legal in the airline’s home state of Washington, as well as California, Nevada and Oregon, where the company has a large presence.
“While the issues are deeply personal, this is a very public event and I know it can raise questions about how Alaska and Horizon provide access to healthcare through their benefit programs.”commented Alaska’s vice president of people, Andy Schneider. “Today’s Supreme Court Decision Doesn’t Change What We Do”.
Schneider assured employees in an internal memo that Alaska Airlines would continue to offer health insurance benefits that include “travel reimbursement for certain medical procedures and treatments if they are not available where you live”.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), which represents Alaskan crew members, has recognized that its members “have a wide range of personal beliefs on the topic of abortion”. But AFA President Sara Nelson insisted that “The right of each of us to make our own choices about our jobs, our bodies and our future is fundamental.”
Nelson called on airline management to speak up and fight for quality, but Alaska Airlines is so far the only airline to have publicly addressed the decision.