US companies attack Texas law changes, including abortion ban

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AUSTIN, Texas / NEW YORK, Sept. 3 (Reuters) – U.S. companies including Lyft Inc, American Airlines Group Inc and Silicon Laboratories Inc on Friday expressed dissatisfaction with Texas’ new abortion laws, handguns and voting restrictions, a further sign of increased efforts by some companies to signal their commitment to social responsibility.

Lyft (LYFT.O) and Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) have said they will cover all legal fees for ride-hailing company drivers sued under a law that almost completely bans abortion.

Lyft will also donate $ 1 million to women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood, CEO Logan Green said on Twitter.

“This is an attack on women’s access to health care and their right to choose,” Green said of the new Texas law.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted in response to Green’s announcement that his company would cover drivers’ legal fees in the same way, thanking Green for taking the initiative.

The ban, which went into effect Wednesday, leaves the application to individual citizens, allowing them to prosecute anyone who provides or “assists or encourages” an abortion after six weeks. This potentially includes drivers who unwittingly take women to clinics for abortion procedures.

On Wednesday, the CEO of Match Group (MTCH.O), owner of Tinder, and rival dating platform Bumble Inc (BMBL.O) said they were setting up funds to help Texas-based employees seek out-of-state abortion care.

Meanwhile, web hosting service GoDaddy Inc (GDDY.N) on Friday shut down an anti-abortion website in Texas that allowed people to report suspected abortions.

The reaction to the law change in Texas comes at a time when many companies are looking to polish their corporate governance and environmental credentials with consumers.

Businesses also responded to the Texas legislature this week by passing the final version of a bill that bans drive-thru 24-hour voting locations and gives more power to poll observers, widely seen as restricting access to voting.

“We were hoping for a different outcome for this legislation, and we are disappointed with this outcome,” an American Airlines (AAL.O) spokesperson said in an email.

A spokesperson for Texas-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) said, “As a global company with 60,000 team members, HPE encourages our team members to engage in the political process where they live and work and make their voices heard. through advocacy and at the voting booth. “

Meanwhile, a law allowing people to carry concealed handguns without a license came into effect Wednesday in Texas.

“Looking at the abortion law, or the gun law, or the voting law, it’s a form of self-defense justice, where you allow individuals to uphold the law,” he said. said Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Austin-based Silicon Laboratories (SLAB). .O). “It’s been a tough week in Texas and a harbinger of what’s to come across the country.”

Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Rosalba O’Brien


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