On Wednesday night, hours after the Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions, a small group of Lyft executives met to discuss how the company would respond.
“Our President and CEO, John Zimmer and Logan Green, reached out and said, ‘What can we do about this?'” Lyft (LYFT) General Counsel Kristin Sverchek told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Monday. “Very quickly, we decided we wanted to act.”
Drivers had begun informing the company that they were concerned about the possibility of being sued under the new law. Abortion providers in Texas are prohibited from performing abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It also allows individuals to sue anyone who “aids or abets” a restricted abortion, not just medical providers, according to legal experts. This could include rideshare drivers who give a person a ride to an abortion procedure, whether or not the driver is aware of what’s going on.
“We both wanted to come out strongly in support of a woman’s right to choose, as well as to make our drivers feel okay,” Sverchek said. “We did not want them being in this untenable position for not knowing whether their behavior was okay or not.”
Lyft’s CEO, Logan Green, announced on Friday that the company would set up a legal defense fund to protect any drivers who are sued under the law for driving someone who has had an abortion. Uber (UBER) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi quickly followed suit, stating that his company would offer similar protections to its drivers.
Other companies that have spoken out against the law include Match Group, whose CEO said she would set up a fund to help employees access out-of-state abortion care if necessary, and GoDaddy, a web hosting service that took down a website that allowed people to post tips about possible Texas abortions.
Leaders of other Republican-controlled states have already indicated that they may try to enact similar legislation in the days following the Texas law’s implementation.
If similar laws are passed in other states, Lyft plans to provide similar financial assistance to drivers, according to Sverchek. The company has also announced a $1 million donation to Planned Parenthood.
Sverchek urged the rest of corporate America to oppose the legislation, claiming that Lyft decided to act despite the fact that “we will lose some customers as a result.”
“Abortion is a Constitutionally protected right, and so I’m happy to see us here taking a voice and I hope that more of Corporate America does this,” she said. “Now, that said, governments should also be passing fair legislation and not look to inappropriately ban a Constitutional right as they have here. But I do think it’s important that corporate America holds government accountable and speaks out on important issues.”