Uber, Lyft to cover legal fees of drivers impacted by Texas abortion law

“Drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft announced Friday that they will cover any legal fees that their drivers could face due to the new anti-abortion law that went into effect in Texas earlier this week.

The new law sets restrictions on most abortions within Texas’ border, making it illegal for a procedure to be carried out beyond the sixth week of pregnancy. While patients will not face punishment, those who carry out or aid in an abortion, including rideshare drivers, doctors, and clinical workers, can be sued under the rules, according to CNBC.

Should they be caught driving a patient to the procedure, drivers could receive a fine of $10K, as would any doctors, nurses, or workers who perform or aid in performing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Lyft released a statement supporting their drivers on Friday, saying that “riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why.”

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The Uber logo is displayed on a car on March 22, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“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 a law. Both are completely unacceptable,” the company said.

In addition to defending their drivers, Lyft stated that it is donating $1M to Planned Parenthood in an effort to “help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”

Lyft CEO Logan Green tweeted the news, in which Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi retweeted support and announced his company’s intentions to do the same.

“Drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push.”

Under the new law, named Senate Bill 8, or SB8, women can also no longer use rape or incest as an exception for receiving an abortion beyond the six-week pregnancy mark, as previously reported by theGrio. SB8 was challenged, but the Supreme Court rejected a request to stop the near-total abortion ban.

Both President Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris have criticized SB8 as well as the Supreme Court’s decision not to strike it down.

“This decision is not the last word on Roe v. Wade, and we will not stand by and allow our nation to go back to the days of back-alley abortions,” Harris said in an official White House statement.

Biden, too, made a statement indicating that he would use various resources to address the issue, according to ABC News.

“Hence, I am directing that Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision, looking specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties,” the statement read.

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