The Texas Republican Party website Texasgop.org is back up after being hacked on Saturday. The site was shut down over the weekend by activists protesting Texas’ Heartbeat Act, according to a statement on the site.
Prior to the site being shut down, hackers put the words “Planned Parenthood” at the top of the website’s homepage among other pointed statements in an attempt to insult the organization and Texas GOP politicians. One of them said: “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac killer,” an internet meme that began during the 2016 election cycle.
The Heartbeat Act, supported overwhelmingly by Republican lawmakers, allows citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected. That can occur at around six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
After the law, also known as SB 8, went into effect on Sept. 1, Texas Right to Life created an anonymous abortion reporting system. The site, prolifewhistleblower.com, was removed by website hosts due to social pressure online. The site is still not up and Texas Right to Life has not revealed when it will be relaunched.
Most of the text on the hacked Texas GOP site used profanities. The hackers also put a link to join Anonymous Operation Jane, an abortion rights group that has vowed to hack any anti-abortion group that promotes a reporting system for abortion.
The Texas GOP put out a statement on its relaunched website saying that it plans to increase “online security and advocacy efforts in support of the Heartbeat Act.”
“Pro-abortion activists targeted us because of our strong support for the Heartbeat Act. This attack adds to a growing list of actions by the radical left who tries to silence anyone that disagrees with them,” the statement said.
The Texas GOP chairman Matt Rinaldi said in a statement that the hack helped the organization recognize its cyber vulnerabilities and promote fundraising.
“Pro-abortion hackers changed our web page for a short time before we took it down. We will be increasing security and appreciate the hackers providing us with a fundraising opportunity — funds we will use to promote even more robust Pro-Life legislation in Texas,” Rinaldi said.
The GOP hack follows a cyber attack on Texas Right to Life, where 300 résumés were extracted from the site and shared online the weekend following the enactment of SB 8.
Updated, 7:26 pm: The headline on this story was changed to say the activists were for “abortion rights.”