The laws allow related parties to be sued, so taxi drivers who are simply driving the abortion patients to clinics could also be sued for aiding the abortion.
The new Texas "heartbeat" law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Essentially, what it means is that once a baby's heartbeat can be detected, the pregnancy cannot be terminated. But at six weeks most women don't even suspect that they are pregnant because they may not track their periods carefully, may have irregular cycles, and are not always sure about the exact date of their period. The law has made abortion punishable. It allows any private citizen to sue Texas abortion providers who violate the law, as well as anyone who “aids or abets” a woman getting the procedure, reported the Associated Press.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the Senate should abolish the filibuster in order to codify abortion rights after the Supreme Court allowed Texas’ restrictive anti-abortion law to stand: “Now and over the next years, we just will get nowhere if we keep this filibuster in place.” pic.twitter.com/6i7DR5OwWz— CNN (@CNN) September 5, 2021
This puts a lot of people at risk of being sued. In an unexpected move, ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber have announced that said they will be covering the legal fees of any of their drivers who are sued under Texas's restrictive new abortion law. Since the laws allow related parties to be sued, so taxi drivers who are simply driving the abortion patients to clinics could also be sued for aiding the abortion. Having recognized this potential threat to their drivers, Lyft released a statement addressing the drivers and riders in the Lyft community.
Something I was not expecting to see? This. pic.twitter.com/baaaMMmYCe— she got the yams on autopilot (@fathernightr0ad) September 4, 2021
"We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why," the statement read. "Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride. Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. 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." Stating that the "law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company."
This is an attack on women’s access to healthcare and on their right to choose. @Lyft is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access. We encourage other companies to join us.— Logan Green (@logangreen) September 3, 2021
The company has taken two-fold action steps. First is the creation of a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under the new law. Second, Lyft is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access. The statement was signed by Lyft CEO Logan Green, President John Zimmer, and General Counsel Kristin Sverchek.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that his company will also follow suit and "cover legal fees in the same way" as Lyft. Taking to Twitter, Khosrowshahi said, "Right on Logan Green - drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go. Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push."
Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber both separately announced they will cover legal fees for any drivers who are sued under Texas’ new abortion law for transporting women to abortion clinics https://t.co/h3QI9AGlUx— Forbes (@Forbes) September 3, 2021
Before this, Texas-based dating companies Bumble and Match first responded to the new law by announcing relief funds. “Starting today, Bumble has created a relief fund supporting the reproductive rights of women and people across the gender spectrum who seek abortions in Texas. Bumble is women-founded and women-led, and from day one we’ve stood up for the most vulnerable. We’ll keep fighting against regressive laws like #SB8,” the company tweeted. Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said that she would personally create a fund to support Texas-based workers and dependents who needed to seek care outside of the state, reported CNBC.
Two of the most popular dating apps in the U.S., Match and Bumble, are kickstarting funds to help Texans access abortion services. https://t.co/3krhjf34F3— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 3, 2021
In a memo to the employees of Match, Dubey stated, “As I have said before, 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. Surely everyone should see the danger of this highly punitive and unfair law that doesn’t even make an exception for victims of rape or incest. I would hate for our state to take this big step back in women’s rights.”