'Anonymous' Hackers Launch #OperationJane in Attempt to Combat Texas Abortion Ban

Just two days after Texas' new abortion ban took effect on September 1, self-proclaimed "Anonymous" hackers launched #OperationJane on Twitter.

Texas' anti-abortion legislation makes it illegal for a pregnant person to seek a legal abortion after six weeks. There are no exceptions for instances of incest or rape. The ban also allows individuals to sue other individuals for up to $10,000 if they are found guilty of attempting to facilitate an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. Texas set up websites for people to report pregnant individuals and the internet has labeled this as an "abortion bounty."

Now, many individuals who disagree with the ban are taking to social media to discuss their disdain. The Twitter account @OperationJane launched on September 3 and states in the bio that it is partnered with @ExpectUsTexas, another account attempting to challenge the new abortion ban.

Many think the name originated from a covert abortion network that was established before Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973. The Jane Collective, also known as Jane, operated out of Chicago before abortion was legalized and helped pregnant people receive abortions.

"Operation Jane is a nod to the Jane Collective. It is our way of looking back, tipping our cap, and pushing forward through dire circumstances," Operation Jane told Newsweek via a Twitter direct message.

On September 3 the Twitter account posted an introductory video message. The video follows the generic Anonymous video style with a cryptic-voiced female narrator.

"Greetings citizens of the world. This is a message from Anonymous Operation Jane. Texas Senate Bill 8 is one of the most restrictive and extreme pieces of anti-choice legislation in the United States," a robotic voice rings from the video.

The video goes on to share that the Texas ban "creates an army of private enforcers and offers up a bounty of at least $10,000 per proven violation of the bill."

The narrator in the video then states the rights of individuals living in Texas have been "scorched by the state" and the ban "provides the basic framework to target and dismantle any federal constitutional right without consequence or accountability."

The group also stated that other states are attempting to follow suit after Texas' ban was approved by the Supreme Court. States such as South Dakota and Oklahoma are also being talked about by the group on Twitter with #ExpectUsSouthDakota and #ExpectUsOklahoma.

The video ends with a call to action from the account stating that in order to combat the ban in Texas the group of hackers will "exhaust the investigational resources of bounty hunters, their snitch sites, and online gathering spaces until no one is able to maintain data integrity."

"We are aware that we are not the solution to SB8," Operation Jane told Newsweek. "We are more like first responders trying to slow the bleed through fighting on a digital frontier for reproductive autonomy.

Shortly after launching the Twitter account, many other accounts associated with the international hacker collective Anonymous started tweeting with #OperationJane.

An Anonymous run Twitter account with over 6 million followers tweeted about Operation Jane on September 3 saying "Operation Jane initiated. We're totally going to mess with Texas. #Anonymous."

Operation Jane initiated.
We're totally going to mess with Texas. #Anonymous#OperationJane #OpJane#ExpectUsTexas #WomensRightshttps://t.co/RxvlYMlepW

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) September 3, 2021

Other accounts retweeted by @OperationJane included resources for individuals seeking abortions in Texas as well as other individuals who actively want to prevent these civil lawsuits, or "bounties," from coming to fruition.

#Anonymous #OperationJane WE IN IT pic.twitter.com/jTsnSnzdVC

— Kir̶̨̧̘̦̦̞̤͇̪͚̀̓̃͂̕ţ̛͈͙̤̟̬̲͕͗͐͐͡ (@ThatNotoriousK) September 3, 2021

Operation Jane also launched an Instagram and TikTok where they share reproductive rights-related memes and a list of reporting resources for people to presumably hack.

"The internet is robust with people that want to help fight back but aren't sure how," Operation Jane told Newsweek. "Operation Jane seeks to mobilize them to harness their individual power, come together, and resist antiquated antichoice bills through the exhaustion of the resources and time of our adversaries. It does not ultimately matter if someone wants to be anonymous, use another alias, or go by their real name. The fight for reproductive freedom needs all hands on deck."

This is not the first instance of individuals utilizing technology to combat the ban in Texas. Just last week, Sean Black, a TikToker who goes by @black_madness21, created a bot that would spam websites set up by the state of Texas for reporting abortions.

Black created his own code that sends fake requests to the official Texas reporting sites every 10 to 15 seconds. Black then created an iOS shortcut that allows anyone with the shortcut to submit fake requests in an attempt to overwhelm the sites.

Updated 09/13/2021, 4:51 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to add comment from Operation Jane.

Texas State Capitol Building
The group @OperationJane is attempting to challenge the new Texas abortion ban on Twitter by manipulating data and spoiling cache information on "snitch" sites. Other accounts have been created to provide resources for individuals seeking abortions in Texas. Cotorreando/Getty Images