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Texas Could Prosecute Businesses That Help Employees Get Abortions If Roe Is Overturned

Texas Could Prosecute Businesses That Help Employees Get Abortions If Roe Is Overturned

Texas is one of thirteen states with “trigger laws” in place set to fully outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Already leading the country in restrictions regarding abortion, the state is now planning to take the punishment beyond just the person seeking the procedure. Some extreme right-wing members of the Texas GOP want to punish any businesses which might help that person, from employers to rideshare companies that have already offered free or deeply discounted rides to states where abortions are still legal.

Fourteen Republican members of the state House of Representatives have pledged to introduce bills in the coming legislative session that would bar corporations from doing business in Texas if they pay for abortions in states where the procedure is legal.

AUSTIN, TX – MAY 29: Protesters march toward the Governor’s mansion at a protest outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Thousands of protesters came out in response to a new bill outlawing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected signed on Wednesday by Texas Governor Greg Abbot.(Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Such a bill would explicitly prevent firms from offering employees access to abortion-related care through health insurance benefits. It would also expose executives to criminal prosecution under pre-Roe anti-abortion laws the Legislature never repealed, the legislators say. The lawmakers pushing for the business rules have signaled that they plan to act aggressively in the next legislative session. But it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to get a majority on their side.

The Texas Tribune reported that laid out their plans in a letter to Lyft CEO Logan Green that became public on Wednesday. Green drew the lawmakers’ attention on April 29th when he said on Twitter that the rideshare company would help pregnant residents of Oklahoma and Texas seek abortion care in other states. Green also pledged to cover the legal costs of any Lyft driver sued under Senate Bill 8, the Texas law that empowers private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who assists in the procurement of an abortion.

“The state of Texas will take swift and decisive action if you do not immediately rescind your recently announced policy to pay for the travel expenses of women who abort their unborn children,” the letter states.

Several other large companies, including Amazon, Uber, and Starbucks, have also said they would help employees or customers seek abortion care outside of Texas. So far, the state GOP hasn’t taken action against them.

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