GoDaddy Refuses to Host Texas Right to Life’s Anonymous Tip Line

The company said the tip line—which encouraged private citizens to report people violating the state's abortion ban—violated its terms of service

GoDaddy Refuses to Host Texas Right to Life’s Anonymous Tip Line
Photo:Sergio Flores (Getty Images)

After being bombarded by spam, porn, and fake reports, the Texas Right to Life tip line has been kicked off GoDaddy for violating its terms of service.

According to NPR, GoDaddy gave the group 24 hours notice before taking the site down on Friday, informing Texas Right to Life that it prohibited domains from “collecting personally identifiable information about someone” without their consent.

The tip line helped people to report Texans seeking or providing abortions after six weeks as a means of enforcing S.B. 8, which went into effect in the state on Wednesday. Tipsters were invited to fill out an anonymous form with space for a name, street address, phone number, email, occupation, and employer—all of which GoDaddy said constituted a breach of privacy.

The tip line has served as the linchpin for S.B. 8, which, rather than being enforced by state or government officials, is enforced by private citizens, who are encouraged to file frivolous lawsuits against anyone they suspect of breaking the law. The threat of the lawsuits and subsequent financial ruin has been enough to force abortion clinics across the state to comply. Though no suits have been filed against abortion providers or patients as of this writing, the Texas Right to Life site was a powerful reminder of how easily this tactic could be deployed. For that reason, it became the primary target for abortion rights supporters, who have coordinated efforts to make the tip line virtually unusable.

Of course, none of these obstacles have sufficiently deterred Texas Right to Life, whose leaders have pledged to find a new platform that supports their endeavor. Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokesperson for the group, told NPR that it’s “not afraid of the mob” and that Texas Right to Life’s IT team was already in the process of “transferring [their] assets to another provider.” But though Schwartz estimated that the site would be up in the next 24 to 48 hours, the tip line remained defunct on Sunday.

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