Pilot who offered women flights to abortion-friendly states fired from job teaching at Catholic seminary

plane FlugKerl2|Wikipedia|CC BY-SA 3.0

A professor at a Catholic seminary in Louisiana lost his job after it was discovered that he had gone on social media to offer his services as a pilot to women wishing to travel to states where abortion is legal. 

Greg Williams, a former Greek and Latin professor at St. Joseph Seminary College, posted on his Facebook account just days following the overturning of Roe v. Wade that he would be available to fly women across state lines.

“If any women need to make an unexpected trip from the south to, say, Illinois or New Mexico or Virginia for reasons that are none of my business, I can provide safe, private air transport that would get you where you need to go and back the same day at a price that will work for you,” he wrote, The Guardian reported.

Abortion is legal in Illinois, New Mexico, and Virginia, where Williams offered to fly the women. Louisiana, where the seminary is located, has a near-total ban on the procedure. 

After he got his pilot license in 2009, The Guardian reported, Williams began volunteering for the Louisiana-based Pilots for Patients, a nonprofit that offers free flights for patients to travel to locations for medical treatments not otherwise available in their area. 

The charity helps make it possible for patients to receive the urgent medical care they need, whether it be for treatment at a cancer center or a visit with a specialist. 

When Williams went on Facebook with his offer to transport women out of state for a fee, he was operating independently of any group or charity. Abortion services fall outside Pilots for Patients mission, the organization told The Guardian. However, the organization also “acknowledged it does not control what trips its unpaid volunteers might take on during their own time,” according to the outlet.

Pilots for Patients told CNA April 24 that the charity had nothing to do with Williams' proposal to transport women out-of-state, and that the pilot made the offer on his own.

On July 5, 2022, about a week after his Facebook post, he received a letter from the rector of the seminary, Father Gregory Boquet.

“Your Facebook post publicly and deliberately advocated a position contrary to the official teaching of the Catholic Church,” read the letter, according to The Guardian. 

“The decision is to terminate your employment … effective immediately,” the July 5 letter said.

The school has a policy that mandates that employees act in accordance with Church teaching. 

As a condition of employment at the seminary, staff members “shall act with the highest degree of integrity and moral standards that will reflect favorably on SJASC and consistent with the teachings of both the Order of St. Benedict and the Roman Catholic Church,” the school’s conflict of interest policy says. 

When asked for comment, the seminary told CNA it did not comment on personnel matters. Williams is not shown on the list of faculty at the school. The former professor, who is an Episcopalian, according to The Guardian, told the outlet that he was hired by the seminary in 2015. 

St. Joseph Seminary College is a Benedictine school located in Saint Benedict, Louisiana, in the southeastern part of the state. 

This article was updated on April 26, 2023.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.