“The Thong Song” is only the beginning.
Sure, Texas may be big, but its reputation for continually chipping away at the bodily autonomy of people who can get pregnant is even bigger. The Lone Star State’s newest abortion law, SB8, is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1, and multiple anti-choice groups have shown their support, including Texas Right to Life. The group set up a website encouraging private citizens to anonymously report alleged violators, but the internet isn’t having any of it. A Texas abortion snitch site is getting spammed with fake tips, and honestly, it's the best thing I’ve seen all week.
On May 19, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 (SB8). As one of the most restrictive anti-abortion measures in the nation, the bill prohibits legal abortion access at six weeks, as soon as cardiac activity is detected in an embryo. For people with a regular menstrual cycle, that maps out to just two weeks after a missed period — when most people don’t even realize they’re pregnant. Furthermore, “SB8 authorizes any person anywhere to sue a person who performed, aided and abetted, or intended to aid and abet an abortion in violation of the ban,” per the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). And it doesn’t end there: In true Wild West fashion, citizens who successfully sue over ban violations will be rewarded with a “bounty” of at least $10,000, paid by the person who has been sued — who could be a doctor, or even just a friend or family member of someone who tried to access abortion care. While there have been multiple legal challenges to the law, it has not yet been blocked from taking effect.
Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists are preparing to get those civil lawsuits rolling. The Texas Right To Life group has already set up a prolifewhistleblower.com site that includes an anonymous form for private citizens to report alleged violators.
“SB8 is unique since enforcement is in the hands of private citizens. The Texas Heartbeat Act calls upon citizens to hold abortionists accountable to following the law,” the anti-choice group’s site explains. “If you want to help enforce the Texas Heartbeat Act anonymously, or have a tip on how you think the law has been violated, fill out the form below.”
The internet, however, has found a way to fight back in the best way possible, spamming the tip page with memes, shock images, some ~choice~ lyrics and more. If there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s bored people on the internet coming up with creative solutions.
“SB8 gives the general public the power and unprecedented authority to enforce this abortion ban, setting up a really horrifying system of vigilantism,” Adrienne Kimmell, acting president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, says in an interview with Elite Daily. “[Anti-choice grassroots efforts] should show us all how insidious the anti-choice movement really is.” She says these kinds of anonymous reporting sites make clear the “chilling effect” intended by the anti-abortion law.
“They’ve drawn back the curtain on what they have tried to hide for many, many years — if not decades — about what their true intent is, which is to criminalize, to stigmatize, and to completely an outright ban access to abortion care, despite the vast majority of Americans opposing that viewpoint,” she states.
Ah, Texas — the home of the Old American West, the largest state fair in the nation, and a government so small it can fit inside your uterus. But as big as the state is, the internet will always be much, much bigger.