Uber and Lyft will cover legal fees for drivers sued under Texas abortion law

Jessica Guynn
USA TODAY

Lyft and Uber said they would cover legal fees for drivers who are sued under the new Texas abortion law.

The law, the most restrictive in the nation, bans women from having an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. 

Rather than having the state government enforce the ban, the Texas law encourages private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion after a heartbeat is detected. And that could leave drivers on the hook for $10,000 in fines.

The new law “threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go –especially women exercising their right to choose,” Lyft’s CEO Logan Green tweeted Friday. 

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Green says Lyft has created a “Driver Legal Defense Fund” to cover all legal fees for drivers who are sued under the law while driving for his platform.

“Right on,” replied Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Uber, he said, “is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way.”

The law bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. 

Patients cannot be sued, but people who help, including doctors, nurses, clinic workers, even ride-hailing drivers ferrying women to clinics to receive abortions can.

The Texas law, which took effect this week, prompted an outcry from abortion rights groups and praise from advocates who want to limit access to the procedure. A divided Supreme Court late Wednesday denied an effort by abortion rights groups to halt the new law.

Lyft and Uber said they would cover legal fees for drivers who are sued under the new Texas abortion law.

Shar Dubey, CEO of Match Group, which runs Match.com, Tinder and Plenty of Fish, and Bumble, the dating app founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd, spoke out Thursday. The companies, both based in Texas, plan to create relief funds to support reproductive rights in response to the new law. Few other technology companies have spoken up.

"The company generally does not take political stands unless it is relevant to our business. But in this instance, I personally, as a woman in Texas, could not keep silent and have made this statement that you might see covered over the next few days," Dubey said in an internal memo.

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Green, the Lyft CEO, also announced that his company was giving $1 million to Planned Parenthood "to ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access."

"This is an attack on women’s access to healthcare and on their right to choose," he wrote on Twitter. "We encourage other companies to join us."