June 17, 2024

GoDaddy is cutting off Texas Right to Life’s abortion ‘whistleblowing’ website

Website hosting company GoDaddy gave a Texas anti-abortion website 24 hours to find a new hosting site before it cut off service.

On Tuesday, Texas legislatures passed the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, making it illegal for most women to get an abortion after six weeks. The website, made by Texas Right to Life, was created in late July for Texas residents to report anonymous tips on women they believe are getting or got an abortion, to help aid in the enforcement of the law.

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen on September 02, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The website went viral on social media after activist and advocacy groups highlighted issues related to reporting on private citizens and called for people to disrupt the website by reporting fake tips in hopes that the website would crash. Many also called on GoDaddy directly, asking the company to cut ties with the site.

“We have informed prolifewhistleblower.com they have 24 hours to move to another provider for violating our terms of service,” a GoDaddy spokesperson told The Verge on Friday.

Since then, the website has moved to another platform.

The Texas Heartbeat act is one of the most controversial laws targeting pregnant women that has been passed in recent times.

It finds its name from the general time frame, six weeks gestation, in which the cardiac activity of an embryo is usually detected by an ultrasound. The law is designed to block an abortion due to this activity, although medical experts state that the reference to a “heartbeat” is inaccurate during this stage because an embryo doesn’t have a fully developed heart at six weeks.

The law is distinct from other anti-abortion laws because instead of having the government enforce it, it gives that responsibility to Texas citizens who can sue entities for providing abortions or anyone who helps someone get an abortion.

The person who gets the abortion, however, faces no penalty.

The only provision in the law that would allow abortions past the six-week mark is a medical emergency provision. It does not exempt rape or incest victims.

Typically, abortion providers can sue the state to stop restrictive abortion laws, but in this case, they would have to wait to get sued by individual people to act, explained constitutional law professor Josh Blackman.

After the bill was signed into law by Texas Governor Gregg About, many women’s rights activists, medical experts and regular citizens argued that the law is both unjust and suppressive to women.

Many have also pointed out that most women do not know that they are pregnant before hitting the six-week time frame. 

This is not the first time that GoDaddy has blocked a controversial website from utilizing its platform.

In 2018, the platform blocked a website created by white nationalist Richard Spencer saying that it “crossed the line” in promoting violence. GoDaddy also gave a neo-Nazi news site the same 24-hour warning to find a new home back in 2017.

In the case of Texas Right to Live, GoDaddy said that the contents of the site violate several provisions in its terms of service, including a section that states: “You will not collect or harvest (or permit anyone else to collect or harvest) any User Content (as defined below) or any non-public or personally identifiable information about another User or any other person or entity without their express prior written consent.”

The organization has since found a new hosting site, Epik, which has provided services for several controversial websites that have been banned from other providers.

However, access to the site is not stable as HTTP 503 error codes pop up and block access to several pages.

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