The ride-hailing apps said riders should never have to justify where they are traveling and why they were going there.
Three companies — Uber, Lyft, and GoDaddy — have announced they will take measures to defend customers against Texas' controversial new abortion law. Lyft and Uber, ride-hailing apps, said they will cover the legal fees of their drivers who are sued under the new Texas law, reported NPR. The law, passed last week, lets private citizens sue anyone who helps someone get an abortion, which includes giving a ride to a clinic. As per the law, a $10,000 "bounty" would be placed on abortion providers and anyone else who helps an individual obtain an abortion past about six weeks gestation. Most people don't even realize they are pregnant until six weeks.
The new TX law #SB8 is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company. A message from our founders: https://t.co/nG3OV1XSVt— Lyft (@lyft) September 3, 2021
Among concerns that ride-hailing apps could get sued, they put out a statement condemning the law and adding this was also a violation of the privacy of the customer. "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," said Lyft in a statement signed by Lyft CEO Logan Green, President John Zimmer, and General Counsel Kristin Sverchek. "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." Green added that the law was "an attack on women's access to healthcare and on their right to choose," before announcing that Lyft was donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood "to ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access."
Uber also said that it would cover the legal fees of drivers much the Lyft was planning to do. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, "Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push," he wrote, quote tweeting Lyft's driver defense fund. The state of Texas had also created a website encouraging people to report violators of the law. GoDaddy has informed Texas that it cannot host the website and gave the state 24 hours to find a new host for the website, citing violation of their terms of service. The website created by Texas Right to Life is now defunct. Texas Right to Life spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz confirmed that they were "already in process of transferring our assets to another provider" and said site would be up and running in 24 to 48 hours.
Much attention has rightly condemned the Texan Ban for making no exception for rape or incest. But also, SB8 makes no exception for miscarriage—which impacts ~15% of all pregnancies before 20 weeks.— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) September 5, 2021
This is a #TexasWarOnWomen & shame on SCOTUS for refusing to protect women.
Bumble, a dating app based out of Texas, has announced it would created a fund to support reproductive rights and help people seeking abortions in the state. The CEO of match and Tinder announced that it was creating a fund for employees and their dependents affected by the law. It's not the first time brands have responded to restrictive abortion laws. When Georgia passed a similar law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, Netflix announced it would pull out of their projects filmed in the state. "We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law," said Netflix chief Ted Sarandos, reported People.
The Texas law is one of the strictest abortion laws in America and prohibits abortion providers from conducting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be around 6 weeks when most women don't even know they are pregnant. The US Supreme court, aided by two conservative additions during Trump's term, refused to block Texas' new abortion law late with a majority of 5-4, essentially eliminating the rights established in Roe v. Wade in Texas. President Joe Biden said it was an "unprecedented assault on a woman's constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for almost fifty years." He went to add that the law was un-American. "The most pernicious thing about the Texas law, it sort of creates a vigilante system," said Biden, reported CNN. "It just seems — I know this sounds ridiculous — it's almost un-American, what we're talking about."