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Twitter Abuzz Over Texas Women's Health

By Monica Riese, Fri., Feb. 8, 2013

The chat moderators spent a good bit of energy trying to explain that this discussion was not about abortion. Planned Parenthood clinics that were part of the Women's Health Program did not provide abortion services.
The chat moderators spent a good bit of energy trying to explain that this discussion was not about abortion. Planned Parenthood clinics that were part of the Women's Health Program did not provide abortion services.
If tagwatchers made it through the deluge of anti-abortion and pro-life tweets, they could find a wealth of statistics on the state of women's health care in Texas. For more, see Jumping the Shark on Women's Health, Jan. 18.
If tagwatchers made it through the deluge of anti-abortion and pro-life tweets, they could find a wealth of statistics on the state of women's health care in Texas. For more, see "Jumping the Shark on Women's Health," Jan. 18.

Apparently, not only is "Planned Parent­hood" synonymous with "abortion"; so is "women's health."

After 30 minutes and hundreds of tweets, it was over as quickly as it began. The official participants left readers with a call to action.
After 30 minutes and hundreds of tweets, it was over as quickly as it began. The official participants left readers with a call to action.

When courts ruled last summer that the state could exclude Planned Parenthood from the federally funded Women's Health Pro­gram – providing the linchpin for the state's argument against the clinics that served over half of the 100,000 women who sought WHP services – they claimed that "Texas's authority to promote [family-planning speech and not abortion speech] would be meaningless if it were forced to enlist organizations as health care providers ... that were also abortion advocates" (see "When You Say 'Plan­ned Parenthood' You Say 'Abortion,' Court Rules," Aug. 22, 2012).

And this past Tuesday afternoon, when Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (@leticiavdp) and Rep. Donna Howard (@DonnaHowardTX) took part in a conversation about women's health in Texas on Twitter, the story was very much the same.

We collected snippets of the conversation – which was dominated by pro-life interjections and attacks on Planned Parenthood but which also contained helpful statistics and glimmers of hope from the legislators – and have curated a few here.

Check out more excerpts from the chat in our Storify, posted online with this article at austinchronicle.com/newsdesk.

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