Lyft, Uber Will Pay Driver Legal Fees Against Texas Abortion Law


Ride-sharing companies Lyft  (LYFT) – Get Lyft Inc Class A Report and Uber Technologies  (UBER) – Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report have declared that they will cover 100% of their drivers' legal fees from any lawsuits filed against them under the Texas anti-abortion law, SB 8.

Lyft led the ride-sharing charge against the law Friday in a blog on its website stating that it had created a driver legal defense fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under the Texas anti-abortion law.

The San Francisco company also said that it is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.

Lyft said it was funding the driver legal defense fund and Planned Parenthood donation, since it believed “this law is incompatible with people's basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company.”

Lyft CEO Logan Green also announced the company's plans on Twitter, which prompted Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to agree with Green in a tweet and assert that San Francisco-based Uber would cover its drivers' legal fees in the same manner.

“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,” Khosrowshahi said in a tweet.

In its blog statement, Lyft said the new law “threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go – specifically, women exercising their right to choose and to access the healthcare they need.” 

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“We want to be clear: 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,” the statement said.

“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 the law. Both are completely unacceptable,” the statement said.

Texas SB 8 bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allows members of the public to sue abortion providers or anyone aiding a person violating the law. The law became effective Wednesday after the Supreme Court denied an appeal from the law's opponents who were seeking an emergency order to block the law. The court said the plaintiffs needed to properly address certain procedural questions.

The ruling, however, still allows the law's opponents to further challenge the law in Federal or Texas state courts.

Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble on Friday issued a temporary restraining order blocking Texas anti-abortion organization Texas Right to Life from suing Planned Parenthood workers under the law for two weeks. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Sept. 13. 

Lyft shares on Friday slipped 0.4% to $48 after hours. The stock closed down 2.2% to $48.21 in the regular session.

Uber shares on Friday rose slightly 0.3% to $40.42 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed down 2.6% to $40.32 in the regular session.


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