Taxi apps Lyft and Uber will cover all legal costs if one of their drivers is charged under the very strict new abortion law in the US state of Texas. The two companies announced this on Friday. Women in that state are not allowed to terminate their pregnancy after six weeks. Anyone who assists a woman in doing so is punishable and can be sued by citizens in civil law. This applies to doctors, relatives, and a driver who takes the woman to an abortion clinic.
In a statement writes Lyft that drivers are never responsible for the destinations of their passengers. Moreover, according to the company, customers never have to share with the drivers where they are going and why. Lyft calls the new Texas abortion law, which came into effect last Wednesday, “incompatible with people’s basic right to privacy, our own guidelines and our values as a company.” Uber agrees.
In addition to covering legal costs in charges against drivers, Lyft is donating $1 million (about $841,000) to Planned Parenthood. This American non-profit organization is committed to the rights of pregnant women and advocates a more humane abortion policy.
Under the new law, women in Texas who are more than six weeks pregnant, the moment a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus, will no longer be allowed to have an abortion. Many women do not know that they are pregnant until after the sixth week. The women themselves cannot be charged. That has to do with a Supreme Court ruling in 1973, which ruled that abortion is allowed in the United States as long as the fetus is not yet viable, approximately up to 24 weeks.
However, anti-abortion organizations are hoping that the 1973 ruling will be reversed. One step towards that goal may be a case that will soon go to the Supreme Court. The court will consider a new Mississippi law next fall that would ban abortion after 15 weeks.
Read more about the abortion law: Can’t women order an abortion pill online? And Five Other Questions About Texas’ New Abortion Law
Despite disappointment over the new Texas abortion law coming into effect, the nonprofit Planned Parenthood won a minor victory in a court on Friday. The organization had sued the anti-abortion organization “Texas Right to Life” to demand that their members be prevented from suing Planned Parenthood employees. American media writing Friday evening that the judge ruled that the new Texas law will cause “probable, irreparable and imminent harm” to Planned Parenthood. As a result, Texas Right to Life is not allowed to file civil lawsuits against the organization for the time being.
Texas Right to Life writes in a comment on Twitter that people who don’t work for the anti-abortion group can still sue Planned Parenthood, despite the court ruling. In addition, Texas Right to Life had created a website where people could anonymously share information about someone who had helped with an abortion after the sixth week. The site is currently offline for allegedly violating the host’s terms of service.
Also read: The anti-abortion movement in the US is becoming more confident by the day