After a controversial abortion ban took effect in Texas this week, pro-lifers declared victory while abortion-rights supporters expressed anger and started fighting back against the Texas law. Some turned to digital activism, some pledged to help women cross state lines to receive medical care, and others are encouraging boycotts.
The Texas law, which bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, is designed to be tough to challenge, giving enforcement power to citizens. Opponents, who say the law will prevent about 85% of abortions from being performed in the state, accuse Republican politicians of “deputizing” Texans and promising informants large bounties. President Biden is promising to lead a “whole of government” effort against the ban.
Because the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 against blocking the ban, it took effect at midnight Thursday. Before that deadline, Whole Woman’s Health, a Fort Worth clinic that sued to try to block the ban, performed 67 abortions in 17 hours. “We’re going to help everybody that we can,” director Marva Sadler told the clinic’s small team. “We are not the bad guys here.”
Texas Law: Digital Activists Try to Crash Pro-Life Website
As ChurchLeaders reported, an initial target of people upset by the Texas law is a “whistleblowing” website. Launched by Texas Right to Life, the site accepts anonymous tips related to the abortion ban. Social media users are urging people to bombard and crash the site by submitting false information.
TikTok user Sean Black developed an iOS shortcut to make that easier. By bundling predetermined commands, he was able to work around an IP ban. And his next challenge is bypassing a “captcha” hurdle used to prevent spamming. “To me, the McCarthyism-era tactics of turning neighbors against each other over a bill I feel is a violation of Roe v. Wade is unacceptable,” says Black. “There are people on TikTok using their platform to educate and do their part. I believe this is me doing mine.”
Vice.com, which describes Black’s efforts, encourages other digital activists to share (“using a non-work phone or computer”) their tech-related strategies against the “draconian” law.
Twitter Fills With Talk of #TexasTaliban
Other people are expressing outrage against the Texas law via Twitter, posting memes that compare Texas lawmakers and Christians to the Taliban. Some tweets ask when the “airlift to rescue women from Texas” will begin, referring to the recent U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan.
Objecting to the use of the hashtag #TexasTaliban, one person tweets: “I know you think you’re being cute, but trust me, white American Evangelicals have never needed to look abroad to get ideas about how to enact oppression here at home. The Texas abortion law is rooted in whiteness, Christianity, and Americanism.”