TX anti-abortion tip website briefly found new home with provider known for serving extremist sites

It remains unclear whether Texas Right to Life will continue to solicit anonymous whistleblower tips in another way

By Brett Bachman
Published September 5, 2021 1:52PM (EDT)
A group of people are gathered at the Times Square of New York City, United States on September 4, 2021 to protest that a Texas law banned abortion. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A group of people are gathered at the Times Square of New York City, United States on September 4, 2021 to protest that a Texas law banned abortion. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A controversial "whistleblower" website set up to anonymously report individuals providing or assisting Texans with abortions briefly found a new home after GoDaddy, the popular domain hosting service, booted the site earlier this week for its collection of personal information. 

According to public domain registration data first reported by the technology publication ArsTechnica, ProLifeWhistleblower.com was added to the client roster of Epik, a provider that has generated headlines for serving neo-Nazi and other extremist sites.

The "snitch hotline," as critics online have taken to calling it, was created by the anti-abortion evangelical group Texas Right to Life. Immediately upon its creation, the website generated intense controversy and was eventually flooded with bogus tips and Shrek porn — crashing the website due to overwhelming traffic. 

The online drama was the latest fallout from the near-total abortion ban that went into effect in Texas this week after the Supreme Court refused to block the measure. The law bars doctors from performing the procedures after six weeks, long before many women are even aware they are pregnant. It also incentivizes people to sue providers and those who assist individuals seeking abortions, such as ride-share drivers or social workers. 


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It all began last Thursday when GoDaddy terminated the website's domain registration. It said Texas Right to Life had "violated multiple provisions," including one which bars sites hosted by the company to "collect or harvest . . . non-public or personally identifiable information" without written consent from the subject.

In a defiant blog post, Texas Right to Life spokesperson Kimberlyn Schwartz blasted the decision:

We will not be silenced. If anti-Lifers want to take our website down, we'll put it back up.

No one can keep us from telling the truth. No one can stop us from saving lives. We are not afraid of the mob. Anti-Life activists hate us because we're winning. Hundreds of babies are being saved from abortion right now because of Texas Right to Life, and these attacks don't change that.

Within 24 hours, the site had moved to Epik, a provider that has previously landed in the headlines for serving extremist websites that other companies have deemed too toxic: neo-Nazi propaganda, QAnon home base 8chan and Alex Jones' conspiracy theory network InfoWars. 

The company even began serving right-wing social media site Gab after it was booted from its original domain registrar following a deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh by a user of the site who had posted anti-Semitic messages. The embattled conservative social platform Parler was also resurrected with a domain registered to Epik after Amazon's web hosting service dropped the site, citing "violent content."

But even Epik founder Robert Monster seems to have his limits. Late Saturday night, it appeared that Texas Right to Life website had disabled its anonymous tip submission form.

"We received complaints about the site," a representative for Epik told The Daily Beast, saying the website had "violated Epik's Terms of Use" in an apparent reference to the collection of third-party personal information without consent.

"We contacted the owner of the domain, who agreed to disable the collection of user submissions on this domain."

Epik confirmed to Salon the site had shut down completely shortly after Saturday's decision.

It remains unclear whether Texas Right to Life will continue to solicit anonymous whistleblower tips in some other way. 

CORRECTION: This story has been edited since its initial publication to include information from Epik clarifying the timeline that prolifewhistleblower.com was live on its nameserver.


Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman is the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Godaddy Hotline Politics Right To Life Texas Tip Line Whistleblower