NEWS BRIEF In response to Texas’s recent abortion law, two popular ride-hailing services announced they will now cover legal fees for their drivers.
News of the $100,000 pledge was first reported by the Dallas Observer. Uber and Lyft now ask riders to help pay drivers’ legal fees for the roughly 700 lawsuits filed against the state over its new abortion legislation, signed into law in late 2013.
Critics of the law argue that it creates legal hurdles for women seeking abortions, requiring them to wait 24 hours after consulting a doctor. At present, Texas requires women to notify both a doctor and a parent. Women do not have to tell anyone if they request an abortion without the consent of a parent. They also must receive counseling, and receive written consent from their doctors. Women who have abortions prior to 21 weeks of pregnancy are not required to receive counseling or receive consent.
Related Video Video length 1 minute 7 seconds 1:07 Texas makes it tougher for pregnant women to get abortions
The new law also outlaws “partial-birth” abortions, which are a common medical procedure to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester.
Amendment II, the part of the law concerning state-sponsored abortion, makes it nearly impossible for Texas doctors to perform the procedure on fetuses less than five weeks into a pregnancy.
Websites ask riders to donate or “pledge money” for their Uber driver’s legal fees. The website is dedicated to “a law that forces women to come to Texas.”
Uber’s general counsel, Tony West, said in a statement, “Uber takes patient safety and respect for women as our top priorities. So we are pleased to know that instead of seeking their babies, women will be seeking help in court.”
Lyft has been responding to the law since the beginning of 2016.