Lyft Starts Driver Legal Defense Fund vs Abortion Vigilantes

Ken Zino of Auto on Texas SB8 and vigilante mob rule against abortion

The Republican led mob that resulted in the assault on our capital in January was a prelude to this latest sanctioning of lawless vigilante rule.

The fallout continues after the passage of Texas SB8, a bill that is the most extreme yet limiting abortion rights and defying the U.S. Constitution. Planned Parenthood, as well as a growing number of other organizations are taking legal steps supporting women’s healthcare – including Lyft, which has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8.

Justice Sotomayor of the Supreme Court wrote a blistering dissent over the court’s in-actions that allowed SB8 to proceed. She said the new law was “clearly unconstitutional under existing precedents” and “a breathtaking act of defiance of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”

She singled out the law’s section that makes private citizens responsible for enforcing the law via civil lawsuits, putting a $10,000 reward on any suit that finds someone “aided” an abortion after six weeks. “In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures,” Sotomayor said.

Here’s the Washington Post on what was in effect a midnight raid by the US Supreme Court – the same organization that brought us the Dred Scott is property fiasco, not a human being endowed by his creator with certain inalienable rights.

“Abortion rights advocates and providers filed a federal lawsuit in Texas on Tuesday seeking to block a new state law empowering individuals to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion, including those who provide financial assistance or drive a patient to a clinic,” wrote Ann E. Marimow.

“A dozen states have passed laws banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. But the Texas law, set to take effect in September, goes further by incentivizing private citizens to help enforce the ban — awarding them at least $10,000 if their court challenges are successful. Even religious leaders who counsel a pregnant woman considering an abortion could be liable, according to the lawsuit filed in Austin by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several other groups,” Marimow continued.

In the latest, but by no means the last development supporting democracy in the face of mob rule, Lyft sent the following message to drivers and riders in the Lyft community:

“A new Texas law, SB8, threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go – specifically, women exercising their right to choose and to access the healthcare they need.

“We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. 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.

“This law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company. We are taking action on two fronts:

  1. Lyft has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8 while driving on our platform. Riders and Drivers: Nothing about how you drive, ride or interact with each other should change.
  2. TX SB8 is an attack on women’s right to choose. Lyft is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.

“If you feel compelled to join us as an individual, you can make a donation here. Logan and John, Lyft Co-founders; Kristin Sverchek, Lyft General Counsel.”

Watch this space – AutoInformed asked Lyft for additional comment.

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