When one woman travelled to get an abortion in New York State recently, she hadn’t counted on the disturbing reaction of her Uber driver
A 20-year-old student has revealed how she was dumped by the side of the road after her Uber driver realised she was travelling to get an abortion.
Writing on Reddit, the woman says she needed a taxi to get from her college to a clinic in upstate New York.
The address she gave was just for a medical faculty; it didn’t specify what kind it is. But a few minutes into the ride, the driver asked her, “are we going to a Planned Parenthood?”
Planned Parenthood is one of America’s leading abortion and reproductive care providers.
“I was shocked; I had no idea what to say, so I just remained quiet,” the woman writes. “He then said ‘I know it’s none of my business, but…’ and proceeded to mention something about his wife being pregnant, how awful the procedure was (and proceeded to explain it in graphic detail), and that ‘there is so much they don’t tell you’.
“It took all of my strength not to start crying but I managed to keep it together by looking out the window and avoiding his gaze,” the woman writes.
Around halfway through the journey, however, the driver suddenly pulled over without warning.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t take you the rest of the way,” he reportedly told the woman. He hung around for a while, she says, and offered to drive her back home – while she was in floods of tears.
The driver eventually drove off, leaving the traumatised woman to continue her journey with the help of her boyfriend (whom she rang) and a local cab journey.
The woman arrived at the clinic late as a result of the disturbing incident, but managed to get the termination as planned. She later reported the driver to Uber, who confirmed they had banned him from the service.
Abortion has been legal since 1973 in the States, and 1967 in the UK. But despite this, women around the world still face a multitude of physical and emotional barriers in accessing this fundamental right.
Whether or not the Uber driver had legal grounds to refuse to drive his passenger in this case is irrelevant: morally, it was still a “douche move”, as one person responding to the thread pointed out.
Though this is a one-off case, it’s worth pointing out that women in the UK seeking abortions must endure the similar censure of strangers every day, after the government refused to introduce buffer zones for anti-abortion protesters.
These activists have become an increasingly vocal and intimidating presence outside UK clinics. But after the current home secretary Sajid Javid ruled out any action on the issue, women and the health workers who treat them are left to endure the problem alone.