The digital platforms people rely on to access or learn about abortion are also being wielded to spy on and punish them.
By Kylie Cheung
November 22, 2021
Shortly after Texas enacted Senate Bill 8, a near-total abortion ban that’s primarily enforced by citizens spying on and policing each other, Texas Right to Life launched what can really only be called a snitch hotline, calling on the nosiest of neighbors and worst of people to submit “tips” about people they suspected to be seeking or helping people seek abortions.
Things didn’t go as planned for the hotline, once the teens of TikTok and other Very Online abortion rights advocates caught wind of it. Good Samaritans across the internet joined forces to inundate the hotline with false tips, Shrek memes, furry porn, and other generally ludicrous submissions, rendering the thing useless for anyone but ride-or-die Shrek fans. The hotline — which likely would have been weaponized by abusive ex-partners or anti-abortion activists seeking to make an easy $10,000 by suing people who help others have abortions — has since been dropped by several hosting services.