Lyft Inc. executives plan to create a legal-defense fund for drivers in response to a Texas law that severely restricts abortions, and rival Uber Technologies Inc. is doing the same.
Lyft LYFT, -2.21% CEO Logan Green made the announcement on Twitter on Friday, adding that the ride-hailing company would also donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood.
Less than two hours later, the CEO of Lyft competitor Uber Technologies Inc. UBER, -2.61%, Dara Khosrowshahi, responded to Green’s tweet and said his rival company would also cover legal fees.
In a blog post, Lyft’s cofounders and general counsel wrote that the company has created a legal-defense fund for drivers to cover 100% of their legal fees if they are sued under S.B. 8, the Texas law that the Supreme Court recently declined to block, and prohibits abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, about six weeks into a pregnancy.
Under the Texas law, private citizens can sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion that is performed after the six-week gestation period, potentially putting not just Lyft drivers, but any driver, at risk of a lawsuit for transporting a person to an abortion procedure.
“We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why,” the blog post reads. “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.”