Bumble Takes a Stand: Supporting Legal Action Against Texas Abortion Restrictions

Bumble, the dating app with a focus on women, recently aligned itself with a significant legal effort by joining an amicus brief. This move aimed to express support for a crucial lawsuit before the Texas Supreme Court that seeks to define the parameters of medical exemptions under the state’s stringent abortion law.

The lawsuit, known as Zurawski v. State of Texas, was initiated in March by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of 20 women who asserted they were compelled to continue pregnancies despite serious health risks due to the state’s abortion ban. Subsequently, two Houston-based doctors joined the litigation, increasing the number of plaintiffs to 22. One doctor, citing the overturning of Roe v. Wade, disclosed partial retirement, expressing an inability to practice medicine as originally trained. Another doctor spoke on behalf of colleagues fearing retaliation.

Unlike other post-Roe v. Wade lawsuits nationwide seeking to overturn abortion bans, this case aims not to repeal Texas’s restrictive abortion law but to bring clarity to when exceptions are permissible. The current law imposes severe penalties, including life imprisonment, loss of medical license, and fines up to $100,000 for doctors performing abortions. Consequently, many healthcare professionals avoid discussing the procedure.

On November 20, Bumble became the first business to support the case through an amicus brief, with numerous other Texas companies from diverse sectors subsequently joining. Bumble’s founder and CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, emphasized the company’s commitment to reproductive healthcare access and vocal opposition to regressive women’s rights.

According to Bumble executives, approximately one-third of their Austin-based employees have relocated out of Texas, opting for remote work. The amicus brief highlighted the potential adverse impact on business, stating that confusion surrounding abortion ban exceptions is increasing costs, deterring talent, and jeopardizing workforce diversity.

The legal interest of businesses in this landmark case adds an economic dimension, with Bumble asserting that it’s challenging to retain and attract skilled workers and business in an environment where necessary medical procedures might not be performed due to fear of reprisal.

Bumble’s involvement in the case emphasizes not only the potential impact on employment but also the broader consequences on relationships and families, given the nature of its business.

While elected officials, medical professionals, and affected women have voiced concerns about the unclear legislation, businesses like Bumble are introducing a financial perspective, hoping that the prospect of monetary losses may prompt the state to clarify exceptions.

The lawsuit currently awaits a decision from the Texas Supreme Court, which recently heard oral arguments. During the proceedings, one justice expressed reservations about granting doctors broad discretion in providing exceptions, raising concerns about potential implications.