Republicans in Texas view abortion as murder and have found a new enemy: abortion websites.
Access to information
The new law in the conservative US state of Texas will require internet providers within the state to block websites that distribute information about abortion. It will also become illegal to host websites, or even register domain names, for websites that help women in Texas have abortions.
The new bill was introduced on February 23 by Representative Steve Toth.
The intent of the bill is to cut off access to companies that supply the two drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. With these drugs you can induce an abortion.
Penalties for web hosting services
The bill’s full text makes it illegal to “create, edit, upload, publish, harvest, maintain, or register a domain name for any website, platform, or other interactive computer server for the purpose of help you have an abortion.” That basically means anyone in Texas who works on an abortion page on Wikipedia, posts on Reddit, or blogs can be sued.
Will Texas become the new China of internet censorship?
The law also contains other provisions, such as the prohibition to send the two mentioned pills for the purpose of performing abortions. The next provision goes really far. Within the Texas area, ISPs are required to make every possible, reasonable and technologically feasible attempt to block Internet access to sites that support abortion.
Some sites are mentioned by name, such as Aid Access, Hey Jane, Plan C, Choix, Just The Pill and Carafem. All of these sites support users with information on how to have an abortion. The law will also allow Texas residents to file lawsuits against these companies.
Critics have compared these draconian laws to the Great Firewall surrounding China.
Chances are small that this law will be introduced
This law is so extreme that even with the Republican majority in Texas, it is unlikely to be enacted. Female Republican voters are a lot more lenient about abortion than men and they are the first to suffer the consequences if they have an unwanted pregnancy. Probably most Republican representatives do not want to alienate this large group of voters by voting for this draconian law.