Texas wants to punish companies that help employees access abortion
If Roe falls, a group of Republican lawmakers have bills ready to take their health care hostility even further.
With the federal right to reproductive health access likely in its final days of existence, a cadre of conservative lawmakers in Texas are wasting no time moving their punitive goalposts even further right, by vowing to penalize companies that facilitate out-of-state abortions if they continue to do business there.
As The Texas Tribune reported Monday, 14 Republican state representatives — led by conversion therapy booster and “anti-trans violence is simply ‘dudes in skirts getting beat up’” ghoul Brisco Cain — are preparing to introduce a slate of bills prohibiting companies from doing business in Texas, if they also cover abortions under their health insurance plans in the (soon to be much fewer) states where reproductive health hasn’t been criminalized.
The push to penalize companies for focusing on the health of their employees seems to have been prompted by ride-sharing giant Lyft, whose CEO Logan Green made a recent promise to not only cover the cost of transportation for drivers in Oklahoma and Texas seeking out-of-state abortions, but also to cover “100% of legal fees for drivers sued under S.B.1503 or S.B.8 while driving with Lyft” — in reference to a spate of new legislation that opens up anyone deemed helping facilitate an abortion to civil lawsuits.
In a letter from the lawmakers to Greene, obtained by the Tribune, Cain and Co. promise that “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,” essentially threatening the California-based ride-share juggernaut for actions relating to — but explicitly out the jurisdiction of — Texas itself. It also follows a larger national trend from Republican lawmakers hoping to capitalize on their gains limiting bodily autonomy by crafting laws designed to transcend state borders.
Cain’s threat comes just weeks after electronic car manufacturer Tesla Motors announced it had expanded its health care coverage to accommodate “travel and lodging support for those who may need to seek health care services that are unavailable in their home state,” and just half a year since the company officially moved its corporate headquarters to, yes, Texas itself. When CEO Elon Musk initially announced the move in 2020, he was lauded by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for choosing to “get into a state where he had more freedom.”
Irony truly is dead.