After a draconian Texas law restricting abortion went into effect on Wednesday, the state’s largest anti-abortion group launched a website that invited abortion opponents to snitch on anyone who helps women in Texas get abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Texas Right to Life launched the online abortion “tip” line shortly after the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation went into effect after the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 Wednesday not to take immediate action to block the legislation. The law allows private citizens to sue abortion and health care providers and collect at least $10,000 if they win.
Tips about the law’s potential offenders quickly flooded into the website, prolifewhistleblower.com, which features an online form where anyone with an internet connection can anonymously submit reports of those who are illegally obtaining or facilitating abortions.
TikTok user, identified as Sean Black, has designed a bot system to overwhelm the website with fake tips. He also created an iOS shortcut making it easier for non-technical activists to participate as well.
“McCarthyism-era tactics of turning neighbors against each other over a bill I feel is a violation of Roe v. Wade is unacceptable,” Black told Motherboard in an email. “There are people on TikTok using their platform to educate and do their part. I believe this is me doing mine.”
In the video below, Black explains that he came up with a repetitive script to overwhelm Texas Right to Life’s abortion reporting system and make it harder for them to parse through their data. He managed to send 300 site requests before his IP address was blocked, he said.
##stitch with @victoriahammett I’ll see if I can add some multithreading to speed up this process
Others are flooding Texas Right to Life’s site with things like “Shrek porn.”
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) September 2, 2021
Good trouble pic.twitter.com/I70cMzGZld
— Tara Dublin (@taradublinrocks) September 2, 2021
Kimberlyn Schwartz, the director of media and communication at Texas Right to Life, admitted to Spectrum News that the snitch website has been flooded with “fake reports” and “ddos” — bot — attacks.