Hackers block Planned Parenthood site

Hackers blocked access to the Planned Parenthood website for a short period on Wednesday.

“This is a new low for anti-abortion extremists,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the reproductive health services organization.

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The website was inaccessible for roughly 30 minutes due to what Planned Parenthood said was a distributed denial-of-service attack, the calling card of “hacktivists.” The tactic floods a website with falsely created traffic, rendering it unavailable.

“Two hundred thousand people a day count on Planned Parenthood’s website for accurate health information,” Laguens said. “Blocking people from accessing information on the full range of sexual and reproductive health — including birth control, sexually transmitted infections, healthy relationships, parenting and preventive care — only shows how far opponents of safe and legal abortion will go.”

The cyberattack came just days after Planned Parenthood confirmed it was under siege from a digital assault on the organization’s networks.

The ongoing attempts to crack the computer system, the organization said, was “threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members.”

The hackers taking credit for the attacks said in a post that they they had stolen and leaked data on Planned Parenthood staffers. They are also threatening to release the organization’s internal emails.

Planned Parenthood has not said whether hackers have stolen any data.

The cyberattacks come amid a bruising debate on Capitol Hill about Planned Parenthood.

The controversy was spurred by a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the costs and methods of preserving fetal tissue for donation.  

The videos have led the Senate to move on a bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding. The offering is expected to get a vote Monday. In the House, conservative lawmakers are also pressuring leadership to allow a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.