Lyft and Uber to supplement legal fees for drivers sued over Texas abortion law

Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber issued separate statements announcing they will supplement legal fees for any drivers transporting women to abortion clinics who are sued under the recently passed Texas abortion law.

Lyft said that it formed a “Driver Defense Fund” to cover 100% of legal fees for any driver sued under the abortion law while working for its platform. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted that the company would “cover legal fees in the same way” as Lyft, and it added that “drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go.”

“This law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company,” Lyft said of the legislation.

Senate Bill 8, which took effect on Wednesday after the Supreme Court did not act on an emergency appeal to block enforcement of the measure, prevents medical workers from performing or inducing abortions if they have “detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child” but provides exemptions related to medical emergencies.

Under the law, anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after the detection of a heartbeat, including those providing transportation to a clinic, could be liable to facing lawsuits that can yield at least $10,000 in “statutory damages” per abortion.

In addition to legal fee coverage, Lyft said it would donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood to ensure “transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the abortion law in May, and the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the law to take effect.

Other companies have pledged to begin fundraising efforts to help Texans gain access to abortion services in the state.

Dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder have pledged to help fundraising efforts, and Match CEO Shar Dubey said Thursday she established a fund for workers who need to travel to an outside state for abortion procedures.