prolifewhistleblower com Pro-life Whistleblower Anti-abortion website attacked

Texas’ new abortion law, the Heartbeat Act (or Heartbeat Act), would make most abortions illegal in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott signed the law. Greg Abbott signed the law in May. It would prohibit abortions after a heartbeat has been detected. This is typically around the sixth week of pregnancy, before most women realize they are pregnant.

Other states have attempted to pass similar “heartbeat acts”, but they were blocked by federal courts. Texas’ law, however, allows the general public, including the friend who drove the woman to the clinic, to sue Texans who helped her access abortion.

The website, called prolifewhistleblower com, asks for anonymous tips on how the bill has been violated and to name the doctor or clinic that may have violated the law.

Online activists used social media to urge opponents of the law, within days of the website being launched, to flood the tip sheet of the website with their own “tips”.

“What a shame it would be if people abused this tip line…” an Alabama-based non-profit called Yellowhammer Fund, which calls itself a “reproductive justice organization” serving Alabama and the Deep South, posted to its Facebook page and Twitter account.

Just a few days remain before the law goes into effect. Legal challenges continue to mount.

A federal appellate court cancelled a hearing in a lawsuit brought by 20 abortion providers to stop the law being enacted. Because the law allows anyone to sue others who may have violated it, the providers claimed that the law’s enactment would be a “bounty hunt scheme”.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cancelled Monday’s hearing. A group of providers filed a request for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to stop the Texas law.

“Nearly fifty years ago, this Court held that Texas could not ban abortion prior to viability,” the group wrote in a court brief, according to a report by The Hill publication in Washington, D.C. “Yet,” the group said, referring to 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.

The law, which will take effect Wednesday, would be one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country and could threaten Roe vs. Wade. Federal courts have overturned similar laws in North Dakota, Iowa, Kentucky and Mississippi, making the Lone Star State the latest–and some would argue most critical–battleground for abortion rights.

Online activists did not lose sight of the urgency when they used social media to get support for anonymous posts and pranks on the Pro-Life Whistleblowers site last week.

The website’s form asks visitors questions like “How do you feel the law was violated?” and “What clinic or doctor did it?” After anonymous tips, the site states it will not contact or follow up with you.

The site was first put up in July. It has been attacked twice since then, but neither has been successful, according to Kimberlyn Schwartz (director of media and communications at Texas Right to Life).

First, the website was hit by what is known to be a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDOS. This means that bots send multiple requests to it in an attempt exceed the website’s ability to handle incoming traffic. She said that many bots captured by the website were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Online activists simultaneously flooded the website with fake reports. Many of these were shared on social media. The answers varied from nonsensical and humorous.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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