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Uber and Lyft to pay legal fees of drivers sued under Texas abortion law

Anyone believed to be aiding or abetting an abortion in the state could be fined $10,000, and this includes taxi drivers.

Allie Nawrat

Texas abortion Lyft Uber
Credit: JENNI CHAPUT-HELLER via Twenty20.

Unleash Your PeopleSo Uber and Lyft have decided to stand up for their drivers’ rights in Texas.

The news that the US state of Texas has implemented an extremely strict abortion law has dominated the headlines since the US Supreme Court decided not to intervene to block the ban last Wednesday.

The new Texas law (sometimes known as the Heartbeat law or SB8) bans clinics from carrying out abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, which is around six weeks into pregnancy and often before individuals know they are pregnant.

The law offers no exceptions for rape or incest, but does allow exceptions in the case of medical emergency if there is written proof from a doctor.

Also, the law allows any private citizen to sue anyone for “aiding or abetting” abortions past the six-week mark, which could include someone who drives them to the clinic, like an Uber or Lyft driver. The suit could leave to a fine of up $10,000.

In response to this and in a rare moment of agreement, Lyft’s and Uber’s CEOs tweeted and said they would pay the legal fees of any of their drivers who get sued under this new law in Texas.

Lyft CEO Logan Green tweeted:

In a statement, Green, his co-founder John Zimmer and general council Kristin Sverchek explained the move further.

They noted that “this law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company. We are taking action on two fronts.”

These actions include a Driver Legal Defense Fund that will cover 100% of the legal fees of drivers sued under the new law while using the Lyft platforms, as well as donating $1 million to pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood to ensure transportation to abortions is not a barrier to access.

While Uber’s CO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to Green’s tweet by saying:

Other employers that are standing up for their staff in the context of the new Texas abortion ban include online dating platform Match. It has announced they are setting up funds to help Texas-based employees who require an abortion to have receive care outside of the state, according to Reuters.

Match’s CEO Shar Dubey wrote in an internal memo last week that the fund will cover any additional costs incurred from going out of state for an abortion.

“The company generally does not take political stands unless it is relevant to our business. But in this instance, I personally, as a woman in Texas, could not keep silent”, Dubey said in the memo.

Texas Right to Life, a pro-life group based in the state, responded to Uber and Lyft’s move by tweeting:

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