On GitHub, a website for sharing and collaborating on software code, another programmer released a script and posted a link on Thursday to a new app called Pro-Life Buster that allowed people to automatically spam the Texas website with “bogus tips.” The developer wrote that the script was a way to push back against the law because it was “no one’s business to know about people’s abortions.”
By Thursday evening, the app showed that 1,000 new reports had been shared.
These techniques, known as “hacktivism,” have become increasingly prevalent. Last year, TikTok teens and fans of Korean pop music inundated a rally website for former President Donald J. Trump with fake registrations — and then never showed up, leaving thousands of seats conspicuously empty. Anonymous, the loose hacking collective, has protested policies from the Vatican, the C.I.A. and others by flooding their websites with junk traffic to try and force them offline.
Kim Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right To Life, denied the group’s website had been overwhelmed with false reports. “We knew this would happen and we were prepared,” she said. “Activists have been trying to spam and take down the site for a week and failed.”
Even so, the group’s website appeared to periodically buckle on Thursday and drop under the load of reports, according to screenshots posted to Reddit and other sites.
To stem the flood of automated reports to its website, Texas Right To Life’s administrators have added a new version of a “Captcha,” a program that tries to filter real human responses from automated computer reports.
But some hacktivists persisted. One posted a screenshot on Reddit of a fake report that pointed to some of Marvel’s Avengers as abortion seekers. On Twitter, people posted screenshots of other fake tips. One user sarcastically reported that he wanted to retroactively abort his 30-year-old son who apparently wouldn’t leave the house.
Others on Twitter called for a boycott of GoDaddy, the company that hosts the Texas Right To Life tip site. They claimed the site violated GoDaddy’s rules that prohibit customers from collecting or harvesting nonpublic information about anyone without their “prior written consent.”