Ride-sharing companies are standing up against the Texas anti-abortion law SB8.
Lyft announced Friday it would cover 100 percent of legal costs for Lyft drivers who are sued under the law. Uber soon followed suit, even though it initially stated that the law did not apply to its drivers.
Lyft CEO Logan Green announced the news via Twitter. Uber CEO quoted Green's tweet calling for others to act by saying that it would also provide assistance for sued drivers.
SB8 bans Texas women from having abortions after six weeks. This is the time when most women know they are pregnant. Private citizens may also sue anyone who "aids or abets" a woman seeking abortion within the time limit.
Although the law is not clear about what "aids or abets" means, it could apply to anyone taking a woman to an abortion. A rideshare driver could be sued. Some drivers may not accept rides to and from clinics. This could make it more difficult for women to have an abortion.
Lyft and Uber could pay the fees to counteract this pressure, but it wouldn't stop a driver going through a potentially difficult legal process. The companies did not provide details on how drivers could access the assistance beyond the creation a Driver Legal Defense Fund. The move by rideshare companies is certainly a positive one. However, it's important that the process for getting fees covered be simple and allow drivers to get funds upfront rather than later.
Lyft will also donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood. Logan Green, CEO of Lyft, stated that the donation and legal protection coverage are "to ensure transportation is not a barrier for healthcare access."