US corporations lash out at Texas law changes, including abortion ban


AUSTIN, Texas/NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) – U.S. companies including Lyft Inc, American Airlines Group Inc and Silicon Laboratories Inc expressed dissatisfaction on Friday with new Texas laws on abortion, handguns and voting restrictions, a further sign of increased efforts by some companies to signal their commitment to social responsibility.

Lyft (LYFT.O) and Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) said they would pay all legal fees for ride-sharing company drivers sued under a law that puts in place a near-total ban on ride-hailing. ‘abortion.

Lyft will also donate $1 million to women’s healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, chief executive Logan Green said on Twitter.

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“This is an attack on women’s access to health care and their right to choose,” Green said of the new Texas law.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted in response to Green’s announcement that his company would cover legal fees for drivers in the same way, thanking Green for taking the initiative.

The ban, which took effect on Wednesday, leaves enforcement to individual citizens, allowing them to sue anyone who provides or “aids or encourages” an abortion after six weeks. This potentially includes drivers who unknowingly take women to clinics for abortion procedures.

On Wednesday, the CEO of Match Group (MTCH.O), owner of Tinder, and rival dating platform Bumble Inc (BMBL.O) said they were setting up funds to help Texas-based employees apply for out-of-state abortion care.

Meanwhile, website hosting service GoDaddy Inc on Friday shut down an anti-abortion website in Texas that allowed people to report suspected abortions.

The reaction to the Texas law change comes at a time when many companies are looking to improve their corporate and environmental governance credentials with consumers.

The companies also reacted to the Texas Legislature this week by passing the final version of a bill that bans drive-thru and 24-hour voting locations and gives more power to poll watchers, widely believed as restricting access to voting.

“We were hoping for a different outcome for this legislation, and we are disappointed with this outcome,” an American Airlines spokesperson (AAL.O) said in an email.

A spokesperson for Texas-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) said, “As a global company with 60,000 team members, HPE encourages our team members to engage in the political process where they live and work and to make their voices heard. through advocacy and in the voting booth.”

Meanwhile, a law allowing people to carry concealed handguns without a license went into effect in Texas on Wednesday.

“Looking at the abortion law, or the gun law, or the voting law, it’s a form of vigilante justice, where you empower individuals to enforce the law” said Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Austin-based Silicon Laboratories (SLAB). .O). “It’s been a tough week in Texas and a harbinger of what’s to come across the country.”

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Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Rosalba O’Brien

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