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

September 3, 2021, 11:22 PM UTC

Lyft and Uber pledged to cover any legal costs their drivers incur if they are sued under a new Texas abortion law.

Executives from both of the online ride-hailing companies disclosed their reimbursement plans on Friday, a few days after Texas enacted a strict abortion law that would let U.S. citizens sue abortion clinics, healthcare workers, and, potentially, drivers of ride-hailing services who provide women with rides to abortion clinics.

The Supreme Court this week passed on a request to block the Texas law, which forbids abortions after six weeks, before many woman are aware they’re pregnant. Advocates are concerned the law turns citizens into bounty hunters because they can earn up to $10,000, plus legal fees, if they win the case.

Lyft executives said in a blog post, “This law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company.”

As a result, Lyft created a Driver Legal Defense Fund that will “cover 100% of legal fees” for drivers who are sued under the law The company told its riders and drivers that “nothing about how you drive, ride or interact with each other should change,” in an attempt to assuage concerns. 

The company will also donate $1 million to the Planned Parenthood non-profit “to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi praised Lyft CEO Logan Green for the move, and said in a tweet that Uber “will cover legal fees in the same way.” He added, “Thanks for the push.”

Only a handful of companies have spoken out against the Texas antiabortion law, despite almost 200 executives pledging in 2019 to support abortion rights. Texas-based online dating app company Bumble said it would create a “relief fund” for those affected by the Texas law, which the firm called “repressive.”

Bumble competitor Match Group, also headquartered in Texas, told employees that it would “set up a fund to ensure that if any of our Texas-based employees or a dependent find themselves impacted by this legislation and need to seek care outside of Texas, the fund will help cover the additional costs incurred.” 

However, no major companies have pledged to pull out of Texas because of the new abortion law.

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