Lyft and Uber will cover legal costs for drivers sued under Oklahoma abortion law
Lyft Chairman John Zimmer (right) and CEO Logan Green speak as Lyft lists on the Nasdaq at an IPO event in Los Angeles on March 29, 2019.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Lyft and Uber said this week they would fully cover the legal costs of their respective drivers who are being sued under Oklahoma’s planned restrictive abortion law.
The Oklahoma House on Thursday passed the Texas-style ban that bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, a period before many women even find out they are pregnant. The so-called Oklahoma Heartbeat Act now goes to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it within days.
Like Texas law, people who help with the procedure, including doctors, people who pay for the procedure, and clinic workers are at risk. This includes carpool drivers who can be punished for transporting women to clinics for abortions, where they could be fined up to $10,000. Abortion rights activists and providers argue that these laws effectively nullify the protections established under Roe v. Wade in 1973.
“Women’s access to healthcare is under attack again, this time in Oklahoma,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said in a statement. tweeted statement. “Lyft drivers are once again caught in the middle simply for getting people where they need to go. We believe transportation shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing healthcare and it’s our duty to supporting both our communities of cyclists and drivers.”
Lyft and Uber first announced protections for drivers in Texas after its restrictive abortion law took effect in September. Now, ride-sharing companies are extending that help to Oklahoma drivers.
“Like in Texas, we intend to cover all legal costs of any driver sued under this law while driving,” an Uber spokesperson told CNBC in an email.
Additionally, for women in Oklahoma and Texas seeking out-of-state abortion care, Lyft is working with partner healthcare providers to create a “safe state” program that would cover transportation costs to airports and clinics.
Lyft will also cover travel costs for its employees enrolled in U.S. medical benefits, which include coverage for elective abortion, if laws require travel outside of Texas or Oklahoma to seek care.
“This law is inconsistent with people’s fundamental rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of ridesharing, and our values as a company,” Lyft said in a blog post.
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