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U.S. companies lash out at new Texas laws

09/04/2021 | 04:06pm EDT

U.S. companies including Lyft, American Airlines, and Silicon Laboratories have voiced their disapproval at new Texas laws on abortion, handguns, and voting limitations.

On Friday, Lyft and Uber said they would cover all legal fees for drivers sued under a Texas law that puts a near-total ban on abortion.

Logan Green, chief executive of Lyft, additionally pledged $1 million to Planned Parenthood.

The Texas ban, which took effect Wednesday, leaves enforcement up to individual citizens, enabling them to sue anyone who provides or "aids or abets" an abortion after six weeks. This potentially includes drivers who unknowingly take women to clinics for abortion procedures.

A Texas judge on Friday temporarily barred the anti-abortion group 'Texas Right to Life' from suing Planned Parenthood - a small victory in the bitter legal fight.

On Wednesday, the leader of dating platforms Tinder and Bumble said they were setting up funds to help Texas-based employees seeking abortion care outside the state.

Website hosting service GoDaddy, meanwhile, shut down a Texas anti-abortion website that allowed people to report suspected procedures.

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

Texas legislature this week also passed the final version of a bill that outlaws drive-through and 24-hour voting locations and gives poll watchers more power - a move widely seen as restricting voting access.

American Airlines and Hewlett Packard spoke out against the bill.

And - a law allowing people to carry concealed handguns without any permit also went into effect in Texas on Wednesday.

Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Austin-based Silicon Laboratories called the laws (quote) "a form of vigilante justice," adding (quote) "It's been a rough week in Texas and a harbinger of what's to come across the country."

ę Reuters 2021
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