Article Thumbnail

Another Abortion-Snitching Group Is Now Festering on Gab

The group, called ‘Pro-Life Whistleblower,’ has remained online despite being in clear violation of hosting company Epik’s Terms of Use

Mere days after its launch, the anti-abortion website that encouraged people to anonymously snitch on Texans who have helped someone get an abortion after six weeks was already having trouble staying online

On September 5th, the tip line’s original host, GoDaddy, removed the site from its servers for violating rules against collecting user data. From there, Texas Right to Life, the anti-abortion group that created the tip line in reaction to the passing of the Texas Heartbeat Act, turned to Epik, a domain service known for hosting extremist right-wing websites like Parler, 8Chan and Gab. But even Epik, whose CEO calls himself “the Lex Luthor of the Internet,” eventually kicked the site off its servers for being a clear violation of its Terms of Use — specifically the rule stating that users may not “harvest or otherwise collect information about third parties, including email addresses, without the express consent of such third parties.”  

While Texas Right to Life appears to have momentarily given up trying to bring their website back to life a third time, it didn’t take long for an imitator to take its place. Gab CEO Andrew Torba created the group — called “Pro Life Whistleblower” — himself, on Gab (no matter that Gab is hosted by Epik, and Epik has seemingly made clear that such an endeavor violates its ToS). “Being that GoDaddy is deplatforming the Pro-Life Whistleblower website, I made a Gab group with the same purpose to document any illegal abortion clinics in Texas and also to share pro-life news,” Torba wrote in a September 3rd post, providing a link to the new group for his 3.3 million Gab followers. 

In the group’s “About” section, there are instructions that read nearly identical to the instructions on the Texas Right to Life’s website — aka the one that previously violated Epik’s Terms of Use (Epik hasn’t responded to requests for comment). “Use this group to document anyone who is in violation of the Texas Heartbeat Act by aiding or abetting a post-heartbeat abortion,” the About section explains. “Report any person or entity that aids or abets (or that intends to aid or abet) an illegal abortion in Texas.”

In the days since Torba created the group, more than 700 members have joined the forum, which so far is mostly a collection of anti-abortion links and ranting. As of publishing, the closest its members have gotten to naming individuals they believe to “aid or abet” in abortions is a post that links to a site that outlines the address and contact information for a Google board member who lobbied for stem-cell research, a post linking to a pro-choice Instagram user and the emails of a few Lyft employees in response to the company pushing back against Texas’ ban on abortion.

Still, it’s out there, and given that it’s housed on the very platform the creator of the group also founded, it’s hard to believe it’s going anywhere anytime soon, unless it’s hounded by Shrek porn or Epik steps in again.