Uber, Lyft Risk Alienating their Customers by Virtue-Signaling on Abortion


Uber and Lyft iconsThe next time you find yourself looking for a ride to or from an airport, you may want to consider hailing a yellow cab.

After all, if anecdotal evidence counts for anything, the driver has likely spent the better part of his day inching forward in hopes of picking up a fare that’ll just barely cover the last couple of hours’ worth of gas he’s burned up waiting for you. Why not give him some business?

Oh right, and there’s this: Using the alternative (you know, those ridesharing apps that clutter your phone) is liable to pick your pocket yet one more time and land in the coffers of abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Already the recipient of more than $618 million in taxpayer dollars last year alone, Planned Parenthood aborted 354,871 unborn babies over that same timeframe. As a show of support, ridesharing app Lyft recently publicized its decision to add $1 million of its earnings to the nation’s leading abortion business.

Uber has taken a slightly watered-down approach but still joined its main competitor by calling upon the general public to give even more money to a publicly funded corporation so committed to ending vulnerable lives that it fired its president in 2019 over what its board deemed as her insufficient dedication to full-throated abortion advocacy.

Why are these ridesharing services suddenly stumping for abortion? Both are reacting to Texas’s recently enacted “heartbeat law,” which prohibits most abortions throughout the state at six weeks’ gestation when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. A lightning rod since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect at the beginning of September, the law was most recently challenged by a lawsuit from the Biden administration’s Department of Justice.

Constructed as a civil law with a private right to sue rather than a criminal law that requires government enforcement, the law allows citizens to file a lawsuit against someone who, “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the cost of an abortion through insurance…”

That would presumably apply to a driver who knowingly transports a woman to a location where she intends to abort her baby, and that’s what prompted the actions from Uber and Lyft.

And respond they did. In addition to pledging money to Planned Parenthood, both companies offered to cover potential legal fees for drivers who openly flout the law. That stands in direct contradiction to Uber and Lyft’s own terms of service, where drivers agree to comply with applicable federal, state, or local laws.

In doing so, both rideshare companies also effectively disincentivize drivers from reporting any illegal activity—not just those associated with abortion. Lyft, for example, makes the rather dubious claim that: “Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why.” (Emphasis added)

While that may be a reasonable expectation for most interactions between drivers and riders, surely it can’t be taken seriously without a limiting principle. And surely that limiting principle needs to be within the bounds of federal, local, and state laws. After all, that’s what the ridesharing apps’ official policies require.

No matter what you think about the specifics of Texas’s “heartbeat law,” it should concern every American that corporations like Uber and Lyft feel empowered to publicly defy duly enacted laws that reflects the will of the people. If enough Texans oppose the law, they can use the ballot box to change the composition of the Texas legislature. That’s how we’re supposed to work out these issues in a democratic republic—through reasoned debate and representative government, not through corporate bullying.

Yet, if polling is any indication, Texas’s decision to limit most abortions to six weeks is far more in line with the attitudes of most Americans than those around the board room at Uber and Lyft seem to think. Fully 76 percent of all Americans want to see significant restrictions on abortion, while only 15 percent favor abortion through all nine months of pregnancy—which is the current standard under the abortion regime ushered in by Roe v. Wade that has resulted in 60 million lives lost and counting. Most people simply aren’t aware of how extreme Roe really is.

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers a head-on challenge to Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in the upcoming term, it’s imperative that powerful businesses like Uber and Lyft correct course and lead the way in healing a divided America. They can simply respect the diverse viewpoints of employees, customers, and stakeholders by considering whether their activism will alienate these key constituencies.

After all, when companies value the diverse beliefs of their stakeholders, everyone benefits. Drivers and riders included.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf

    Which just reminds me how useless Republicans are. Even when they held both houses of Congress and the White House, they just couldn’t find the energy to defund the baby-parts traffickers at Planned Parenthood.

    Someone find me a new political party to support.

    • #1
  2. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf

    Also, Uber and Lyft cater to urban-dwellers. Which is to say, left-leaners. It’s highly doubtful that they’ll alienate their customer base.

    • #2
  3. Jay Hobbs Contributor
    Jay Hobbs
    @Jay Hobbs

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Which just reminds me how useless Republicans are. Even when they held both houses of Congress and the White House, they just couldn’t find the energy to defund the baby-parts traffickers at Planned Parenthood.

    Someone find me a new political party to support.

    Sign me up when you find it!

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge

    I don’t use “services” like this.  I get a cab.

    I have something like 15 apps on my phone.  Soon it will be less.   This is down from over a hundred.

    Well, either we’re going to try or we aren’t.

    In addition to the merely corporate abuse pointed out by the OP (sending ostensibly neutral money to whacked-out partisan causes), there is NO APP on the market which is not capable of tracking everything on your phone, including sound, location, other phones in proximity, images, and of course transactions.

    The last thing I want is to tell the internet where I am about to go and then ask the internet to get me there.

    Lyft this.

    • #4