GoDaddy shuts down web hosting of Pro-Life organization’s abortion whistleblower site

When Texas’ restrictive new abortion law went into effect last week, Texas Right to Life had already launched an anonymous abortion whistleblower line called ProLifeWhistleblower.com, which asked people to submit reports revealing information about people who facilitate abortions.

This was made possible by the strange mechanism of the new law which allows anyone, even outside the state, to sue anyone else who performs an illegal abortion or knowingly aids and abets an illegal abortion (including paying for it). The law defines illegal abortions as those performed after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, approximately six weeks into pregnancy. (“The fetal heart rate” is a somewhat heavy term, notes Raison‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown, since it “referred[s] to any embryonic cardiac activity—an electrical impulse that mimics a heartbeat even before an embryo has a heart – and can usually be detected about two weeks after pregnancy registration in a typical home test.”)

The law essentially tasks abortion vigilantes with monitoring the activities of other people and prosecuting them for breaking the law. If successful, the snitches can be rewarded $10,000 in damages. All of this is done “for the purpose of thwarting constitutional challenges”, writes RaisonIt’s Jacob Sullum. Predictably, it drew ire from the pro-choice movement and its media supporters. “Here’s how you can help shut down the despicable website exposing people who get abortions in Texas,” it read. Gizmodo big title since last Wednesday. This story suggests that angry pro-choicers are contacting the site’s web hosting provider, GoDaddy, and alleging that the website violates the company’s terms of service, which do not allow users to

collect or harvest (or permit someone else to collect or harvest) any User Content… or any non-public or personally identifiable information about another User or any other person or entity without their prior express written consent.

Gizmodo also notes that readers might file abuse reports with the hosting platform, stating bluntly that “it appears our best line of defense is to file these reports until the company does not ‘can no more’. During this time, TikTok users have taken to creating videos that show themselves how to flood the site with fake advice. GoDaddy apparently caved under the pressure and/or decided that the TOS violations were indeed too great to be allowed, giving Texas Right to Life noted that he should migrate elsewhere within 24 hours. (Texas Right to Life did not respond to Raisonrequest for comment.)

The Epik company then Okay to host the site. But soon after, Epik’s general counsel informed The edge that the whistleblowing site’s anonymous tip line also violated the company’s terms of service. Now the URL ProLifeWhistleblower.com redirects to the homepage of Texas Right to Life, apparently hampered by the trials and tribulations of finding suitable web hosting.

Pro-choicers and pro-lifers seem to have one thing in common: a passion for exposing each other.

James S. Joseph