Lyft And Uber Offer To Pay Legal Fees For Drivers Sued Under Texas Abortion Law
Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber both separately announced they will cover legal fees for any drivers who are sued under Texas’ new abortion law for transporting women to abortion clinics, following a wave of other companies that have declared they would provide aid to women seeking abortions in the state.
Under Texas’ new abortion law, anyone who helps an individual with an abortion, including driving them to a clinic, can be sued and fined over $10,000, which raised concerns for some rideshare drivers, according to NPR.
Lyft said it has created a “Driver Defense Fund” to cover 100% of legal fees for any driver sued under the abortion law while driving on its platform.
On Twitter, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would “cover legal fees in the same way” as Lyft, and noted that “drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go.”
Lyft said it will also be donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to ensure “transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”
“Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride,” Lyft said in a statement. “Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a healthcare appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you for fear of breaking a law. Both are completely unacceptable.”
Texas’ new restrictive abortion law was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in May and went into effect on Wednesday, and the Supreme Court voted 5-4, allowing the abortion law to take effect. The law bans abortion after signs of a fetal heartbeat are detected, which can be picked up by an ultrasound about six weeks from conception. Under the law, private citizens have the power to enforce the abortion ban by bringing forth lawsuits to anyone who may be “aiding and abetting” an abortion.
The announcements by Uber and Lyft come just one day after popular dating apps Match and Bumble said they would start funds to help Texans access abortion services. Match CEO Shar Dubey said she has set up a fund for workers who need to travel out-of-state in order to have an abortion. Bumble said it would also launch a fund to support people trying to access abortion services in Texas.
Bumble, Match Launch Funds To Cover Abortion Costs In Texas (Forbes)
Texas Now Has The Most Restrictive Abortion Law In The U.S.—Here’s What Could Happen Next (Forbes)
Biden Vows Action Against Texas Abortion Ban With ‘Whole-Of-Government Effort’ (Forbes)