Lyft CEO to cover 100 percent of legal fees for any driver sued under Texas’ new abortion law

The CEO of Lyft vowed Friday to cover every penny of legal fees for any of the company’s drivers who may find themselves the target of lawsuits under Texas’ new abortion law.

The law, which empowers residents to take legal action against anyone who helps facilitate an abortion inside the state after six weeks, when fetal heartbeats can normally be detected, reportedly includes contract drivers with Lyft, Uber, and other companies.

But CEO Logan Green says his company will provide free legal services to any of its drivers caught up in legal cases involving the Texas law, which took effect Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to stand for the time being in a 5-4 ruling.

TX SB8 threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go— especially women exercising their right to choose. @Lyft has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8 while driving on our platform,” he wrote on Twitter.

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,” he continued.

Under the Texas law, people can be sued for engaging in or helping facilitate an abortion, seeking $10,000 in damages per defendant, The Associated Press reported. The U.S. Supreme Court elected on Wednesday in a 5-4 ruling not to strike it down amid ongoing legal disputes in the Lone Star State. The high court said that plaintiffs lacked standing in the case because no one had actually been fined yet under the law.

“Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride,” Lyft added in a statement.

“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,” the statement continued.

Meanwhile, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer seconded the company’s efforts, writing he was “proud of the team” on Twitter.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed the legislation in May.

“The life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” he said at the time.

After the law took effect this week, Abbott defended it again, pushing back against critics who said it would harm business in the state.

“People vote with their feet and this is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas. In fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas,” Abbott told CNBC.

“[SpaceX CEO] Elon Musk, who I talk to frequently, Elon had to get out of California because in part of the social policies in California. And Elon consistently tells me that he likes the social policies in the state of Texas,” he added.

Musk later said he generally agrees that he supports the least amount of government as possible but would “prefer to stay out of politics,” the New York Post reported.

Other states are said to be looking at the Texas law, with an eye towards passing their own version of the measure.

Jon Dougherty

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