Uber, Lyft Offer To Pay Their Drivers' Legal Fees If They're Sued Under Texas' New Abortion Law
Uber and Lyft have announced they'll pay their drivers' legal fees if any of the drivers are sued under Texas' new abortion law, which bans abortions after about 6 weeks of pregnancy — before many people know they're pregnant.
Under Texas's new abortion law anyone can be sued if they aid a person who is trying to get an abortion in violation of the law. That means ride-share drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft could be at risk if they drive anyone to abortion services.
"We do not appreciate how this law pits citizens against citizens, and we do not appreciate how this law limits a woman's right to choose," Lyft CEO John Zimmer said in a conversation with NPR's A Martínez.
Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green announced the plans to cover fees on Twitter.
TX SB8 threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go— especially women exercising their right to choose. @Lyft has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8 while driving on our platform.— Logan Green (@logangreen) September 3, 2021
Uber is taking action, too. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi retweeted Green's tweet and responded, "Right on @logangreen- drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go. Team @Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push."
Further explaining his company's decision, Lyft's Zimmer told NPR, “No. 1, the law threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go."
"You know, if you imagine being a driver and not knowing if you're breaking the law or giving someone a ride. Imagine if you're a woman in need of a health care appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you. Both of these situations are completely unacceptable."
Zimmer also said Lyft plans to also donate $1 million Planned Parenthood to "help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to health care access."
Elsewhere in Texas, large companies have been relatively mum on the new law.