NEW YORK — Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft said Friday they would cover the legal costs of any driver sued under the new law banning most abortions in Texas.
Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect heart activity, usually about six weeks and often before women know they are pregnant. Rather than being enforced by government authorities, the law gives citizens the right to sue civilly and collect damages from anyone who assists in an abortion, including those who transport women to clinics.
San Francisco-based Lyft said it created a fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers prosecuted under the law while driving on its platform. Calling the Texas law “an attack on a woman’s right to choose,” Lyft also said it would donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood.
“We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their passengers are going or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by taking someone,” Lyft said in a statement. “Similarly, runners never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a medical appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel you for fear of breaking a law.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to Lyft’s statement in a tweet announcing a similar policy for its drivers.
“Drivers should not be put at risk to get people where they want to go,” Khosrowshahi wrote. Uber is also headquartered in San Francisco.
Earlier this week, the chief executive of Match Group, owner of Tinder, said she was setting up a fund to help all Texas-based employees who need abortions out of state.
Rival dating app Bumble also criticized the law and announced on Instagram that it would donate funds to six organizations that support women’s reproductive rights.
Both dating companies are based in Texas and run by women.
Match Group said CEO Shar Dubey was setting up the fund on her own, not through the company. She spoke out against the law in a memo to employees Thursday.
“I immigrated to America from India over 25 years ago and I have to say that as a resident of Texas I am shocked to now live in a state where female reproductive laws are more regressive than most countries in the world, including India,” Dubey said in the note.
The Texas law, which went into effect Tuesday after the Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal by abortion providers, is the biggest curb on the constitutional right to abortion in decades. It makes no exceptions for rape or incest.