- Texas’ abortion whistleblower website quickly went down in early September after online attacks.
- The group behind it, Texas Right for Life, said it’s unconcerned as long as abortion rates drop.
- Local and federal officials have attempted to block the new Texas abortion law with little success.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The legislative director of Texas Right to Life, the group behind Texas’ abortion whistleblower site, told Insider that the state’s new abortion law has been an “unmitigated success” so far.
Texas recently enacted a law that forbids anyone from receiving an abortion if they are six or more weeks pregnant. Private citizens are able to enforce the law by suing anyone receiving an abortion, the abortion provider, or anyone who “aids and abets” a procedure.
Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion advocacy group, created a website that solicits anonymous tips about people getting or helping people get abortions. The tip site went offline after its web host, GoDaddy, said it violated its terms of service. Before the site went down, TikTok users spammed its tip form with “Shrek porn”, the script of “Bee Movie,” and other internet memes.
Cybersecurity experts warned Insider about there are extreme risks that accompany an organization collecting such sensitive health information. Abortion rights advocates told Insider that the data collection itself places abortion-rights advocates in danger.
“I shudder even to consider the implications of an extremist anti-choice group having a database of Texans who are known to support reproductive freedom,” Dina Montemarano, the research director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told Insider in an email.
But Texas Right for Life doesn’t seem to be fretting about its whistleblower site going offline.
Employees and representatives from the organization both said abortion rates have plummeted in the state since the Texas law went through – and to them, that’s what matters most.
“We’re looking at 15 days out of the strongest pro-life bill in the country being followed,” said John Seago, the legislative director at Texas Right to Life. “And that is unmitigated success.”
Texas’ new law has cut down the number of abortions in the state, The 19th reported. At Whole Women’s Health clinics, which provide abortions in the state, almost half of the doctors stopped working once the law went into effect.
Texas Right to Life also said the group is undeterred by repeated efforts from local and federal officials to invalidate the Texas law.
Kimberlyn Schwartz, the spokesperson for Texas Right to Life, wrote that “Texas will not be intimidated” by the US Department of Justice’s emergency motion to block the law. She said Texas Right for Life is working with several other states to pass similar laws around the US.
Schwartz also saidthe organization doesn’t mind the “limited victory” that Planned Parenthood had in a September lawsuit and echoed Seago, noting that Planned Parenthood already announced its intention to comply with Texas’ new abortion restrictions.
“Despite receiving a limited victory in the Travis County court, Planned Parenthood announced they will continue to comply with the law and cease all elective abortions after six weeks,” Schwartz said in a different post on Texas Right to Life’s website. “Approximately 100 babies and pregnant women per day will continue to be saved by the law.”
Schwartz and Seago each told Insider that Texas Right to Life is working on restoring their abortion whistleblower website but didn’t say when the site would return. They said the organization is adding additional security features to the whistleblower website before it comes online again.