Activists Attack Planned Parenthood Websites Second Time In a Week
Planned Parenthood claimed computer hackers hindered traffic to its websites on Wednesday, the second cyber attack against the organization this week as a controversy continues over the group’s alleged sales of aborted fetal tissue, according to Reuters.
The Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action websites suffered a wide-scale “distributed denial-of-service,” or DDoS, attack, clogging the websites, the health care organization said. Planned Parenthood Action is the organization’s political branch.
In such attacks, massive amounts of data flood a web server to block access for regular users.
Planned Parenthood Moves Websites Offline
The organization restored service shortly after the attack. But it decided to keep its websites offline for the remainder of the day “to ensure that we are fully protected,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood redirected website visitors to its Facebook page for the time being, Laguens said. The sites serve some 200,000 people a day who seek information on reproductive health, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, parenting, abortion and other topics.
The attack, she said, “only shows how far opponents of safe and legal abortion will go.” It was the second time in as many days that hackers reportedly breached Planned Parenthood’s websites.
On Tuesday, the organization notified the FBI that “extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services” had launched an attack on its information systems.
Planned Parenthood gave few details of the first incident, except to say the privacy and safety of its staff had been threatened. The Daily Dot, a news website, reported that hackers had gained access to the website databases and the names and email addresses of Planned Parenthood employees.
The Daily Dot reported the hackers called themselves “social justice warriors,” and planned to soon release Planned Parenthood’s internal emails.
Secret Videos Over Fetal Tissue Sales Raise Scrutiny
Planned Parenthood has faced scrutiny in recent weeks after critics charged that a pair of secretly-recorded videos showed the group to be involved in illegally selling aborted fetal tissue for medical research.
Planned Parenthood claims it has broken no laws since abortion providers are permitted to charge costs to cover expenses associated with fetal tissue donations. On Wednesday, the group called for a blue-ribbon panel to review its fetal tissue research policies.
Senate Republicans are trying to eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, $500 million a year, and redirect the money to other providers of women’s health.