Lyft and Uber will pay legal fees of drivers sued under the Texas anti-abortion law:
Ride share companies are taking a stand against the draconian Texas anti-abortion law SB8.
Lyft announced Friday that it will cover 100 percent of legal fees for Lyft drivers sued under the terms of the law. Uber followed suit soon after, although it had initially taken the stance that it did not believe the law would apply to its drivers.
Lyft and CEO Logan Green made the announcement on Twitter. Uber CEO tweeted Green’s call for other companies to take action by saying it too would provide assistance for sued drivers.
SB8 prohibits women in Texas from receiving abortions after six weeks, which is before most women usually know they’re pregnant. It also says private citizens can receive a minimum of $10,000 in damages if they sue any person who “aids and abets” a woman seeking an abortion after that window.
The law is vague about what “aids and abets” covers, but it could mean that a person taking a woman to or from an abortion — potentially, a rideshare driver — could be sued. This could deter some drivers from accepting rides going to or coming from clinics, which would make it even more difficult for a woman to attain an abortion.
Lyft and Uber stepping up to pay the fees could counteract that pressure, even though it still wouldn’t save a driver from going through a probably hellacious legal saga. Additionally, neither company provided details about how drivers could access this assistance, beyond the creation of a “Driver Legal Defense Fund.” In other words, the move by the rideshare companies is undoubtedly a good one, but the process of getting fees covered needs to be easy to access and provide funds upfront (rather than reimbursing after the fact) for it to be truly helpful.
Lyft is also donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood. CEO Logan Green said the donation and legal defense coverage is “to ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”
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