A Texas anti-abortion group moved its online portal for snitching on abortions under the state’s extreme new law to a web hosting service known for working with far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists.
And it may go too far for even that provider.
Texas Right to Life, the evangelical Christian group behind the site, set up the online reporting operation to enforce the new “vigilante” law, which went into effect last week after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block it. The law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year, bans all abortions after six weeks — even in cases of rape or incest — before many people even know they’re pregnant.
But the reporting site was bounced last week by hosting provider GoDaddy for violating privacy policies barring users from revealing personal information about third parties (like people seeking abortions).
Epik is noted for its history of working with far-right and extremist sites, including social media site Parler, hate-spewing 8Chan, and Gab, the social media platform favored by Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. Epik founder Rob Monster has boasted that he’s the “Lex Luthor of the internet.”
But even Epik has privacy requirements.
“We contacted the owner of the domain, who agreed to disable the collection of user submissions on this domain,” the statement said.
On Monday, the “whistleblower” link of Texas Right to Life was a dead end, and there was no abortion reporting form available on the group’s website.
It’s unclear how Texas Right to Life could operate its abortion reporting operation without collecting private information about third parties, including confidential details about a medical procedure.
The Texas law sets up a bounty system for vigilantes who can collect $10,000 if they win a suit filed against anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion.
Separately, a Texas county court on Friday issued a temporary restraining order banning Texas Right to Life from “instituting private-enforcement lawsuits” against Planned Parenthood, its doctors and staff.
After the religious group’s reporting system was initially launched, a TikTok activist showed followers how to swamp the site with spam attacks. Others inundated the site with fake reports, including things like Shrek porn.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday that the Justice Department will work to protect the safety of people seeking abortions in Texas as the agency continues to explore how it can challenge the new state law.