Lyft and Uber defend drivers sued under Texas abortion law (1)

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Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. has pledged to pay legal fees for drivers who are sued under Texas’ restrictive new abortion law, which threatens to hold anyone legally responsible for helping a woman get the procedure.

Co-founder and CEO of Lyft Logan Green Friday tweeted that the company is creating a drivers’ legal defense fund to cover 100% of legal costs incurred by drivers sued for transporting women for abortion, and unveiled a million dollar donation to Planned Parenthood. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded on Twitter, saying Uber would cover legal fees as well, and thanked Green “for the push.”

“This is an attack on women’s access to health care and their right to choose,” Green wrote on Twitter. He said the Planned Parenthood donation would help ensure that “transportation is never a barrier to accessing health care” and called on other companies to do the same.

Texas banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, but left it up to private parties to sue to enforce the law. The United States Supreme Court earlier this week rejected, 5 to 4, a request to suspend the law while its constitutional questions are being debated. The measure, which went into effect on Wednesday, potentially makes anyone who helps a woman get an abortion in the state liable.

General Counsel for Green and Lyft Kristin sverchek, in a post on the company’s blog, said, “Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their passengers are going or why. This law is incompatible with fundamental human rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of carpooling and our values ​​as a company.

Other companies have responded to developments in Texas. Texas Right to Life, a group that opposes the right to abortion, has created a website encouraging people to “enforce” the law by sending advice or anonymous information about alleged violations of the law. GoDaddy Inc., which provides web hosting services, said it informed Texas Right to Life on Thursday that it had to find a new hosting provider within 24 hours because it violated the terms of service.

Texas Right to Life spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz said on Friday the assets were being transferred to another vendor and the group’s site would be restored on or earlier on Sunday.

“We will not be silenced,” she wrote in an email. “If the anti-life people want to take down our website, we’ll put it back up. We are not afraid of crowds. We will not back down. “

(Updates with comments from the Texas group in the last two paragraphs.)

–With the help of Tom Gilles.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Marc Milian at [email protected]

Andrew Pollack, Jillian Ward

© 2021 Bloomberg LP All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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