Pro-choice activists on Thursday trolled en masse a Texas ‘snitch’ web site designed to enable private citizens to report on women who have abortions as a restrictive and controversial new ‘fetal heartbeat’ law went into effect.
The website, prolifewhisteblower.com, has been inundated with pornographic images, Shrek memes, and other trolling messages designed to flood it with erroneous tips, according to MySA.com.
‘I’m definitely sending in pictures of my menstrual cup dump outs when I get the opportunity in a couple weeks,’ one Reddit user vowed.
Others have pledged to send photos of their fecal matter and other unsavory images.
Women at the University of Texas rally at the Capitol in Austin to protest the new anti-abortion law that was allowed to go into effect by the Supreme Court on Thursday
An anti-abortion group, Texas Right to Life, created a web site, prolifewhistleblower.com, that allows private citizens to provide tips on anyone suspected of helping a woman carry out an abortion beyond six weeks of pregnancy
The Supreme Court early on Thursday declined to block Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) which allows citizens to sue anyone they believe to be helping a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Most women discover they are pregnant between weeks four and seven of pregnancy, so pro-choice advocates say that the law in effect bans a majority of abortions.
A plaintiff who successfully sues would be entitled to a $10,000 cash reward, or bounty, which would be paid by the defendant, according to the law.
The mere threat of litigation has prompted abortion clinics in Texas to immediately limit their abortion services in compliance with the law.
But it appears that enforcement of the law is on hold for now as a state judge in Travis County granted requests for temporary restraining orders preventing lawsuits from being filed under the statute.
Social media users encouraged their friends online to flood the tip line with trolling messages
On Twitter, social media users bragged that they flooded the anonymous tip line with fake messages, causing the system to crash
One Twitter user wrote that she personally reported Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Another ‘tipster’ included vulgarities while posting a fake message to the site
Another trolling message that was submitted to the tip line is seen above
Other trolls used the tip line to ‘report’ Abbott and Heidi Cruz, the wife of Senator Ted Cruz
Another tip that was submitted to the site was from ‘Bart Simpson’ who claims to have seen ‘Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner…in the closet making babies.’ These are characters from the hit TV show The Simpsons
On Thursday, several entities that help women gain access to abortions asked the state court to grant the TROs that shield from the civil action.
The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, the North Texas Equal Access Fund, and a social worker named Monica Faulkner asked the court to prevent a pro-life group called Texas Right to Life from suing, KXAN-TV reported.
‘The only way to avoid ruinous financial lawsuits is to give up your constitutional rights,’ said Elizabeth Myers, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs.
Myers said that Texas Right to Life is the ‘leading organization’ that is working to organize lawsuits against her clients.
The attorney for Texas Right to Life said the TRO wasn’t necessary since abortion clinics and health care providers were already complying with the law and denying women access to the procedure if a fetal heartbeat is detected.
‘Really, we are just watching to make sure that abortionists follow the law – that they are not going to kill any pre-born babies once the heartbeat is detectable,’ said Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokesperson for the group.
‘We believe that both lives, the woman and the baby, are valuable in this situation.’
The judge granted the request for the TROs and a court hearing is scheduled for later this month.
Texas Right to Life is the same organization that created a whistleblower web site allowing citizens to report women who have had abortions.
Abortion rights activists on social media flooded the web site’s tip page with fake complaints. According to some reports, it forced the site to temporarily shut down.
One social media user posted a screenshot of her ‘tip’ in which she accused Heidi Cruz, the wife of Senator Ted Cruz, of having a ‘stomach pooch’ which disappeared after ‘she went to Mexico during our state’s blizzard.’
Cruz, the Republican from Texas, flew to Cancun while his state was in the throes of a massive power outage caused by a spell of extremely cold weather last winter.
Other social media users submitted fake tips while lambasting Abbott and other top GOP officials in the state.
Even before a strict abortion ban took effect in Texas this week, clinics in neighboring states were fielding growing numbers of calls from women desperate for options.
An Oklahoma clinic had received more than double its number of typical inquiries, two-thirds of them from Texas.
A Kansas clinic is anticipating a patient increase of up to 40 percent based on calls from women in Texas.
The Supreme Court on a 5-4 ruling kept the Texas abortion restrictions in place
In this Sept. 1, 2021 file photo, women protest against the six-week abortion ban at the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Even before a strict abortion ban took effect in Texas this week, clinics in neighboring states were fielding more and more calls from women desperate for options
A Colorado clinic that already had started seeing more patients from other states was preparing to ramp up supplies and staffing in anticipation of the law taking effect.
The phenomenon is not new. Women have been increasingly seeking out-of-state abortions as Republican legislatures and governors have passed ever-tighter abortion laws, particularly in the South.
At least 276,000 women terminated their pregnancies outside their home state between 2012 and 2017, according to a 2019 Associated Press analysis of state and federal data.
The trend appears to have accelerated over the past year. Abortion clinics in neighboring states began seeing an uptick in calls from Texas after Governor Greg Abbott banned abortions in March 2020 for nearly a month under a COVID-19 executive order.
The number of Texans seeking abortions in Planned Parenthood clinics in the Rocky Mountain region, which covers Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and southern Nevada, was 12 times higher that month.
In California, 7,000 patients came from other states to Planned Parenthood clinics in 2020.
The number of Texans getting abortions in Kansas jumped from 25 in 2019 to 289 last year.
The Trust Women clinic in Wichita accounted for 203 of those procedures in a three-month period. Those patients traveled an average of 650 miles, Trust Women spokesman Zack Gingrich-Gaylord said.