Texas vs. Virginia: A Tale of Two Sonograms

There's only so much crowing a Texan can take before wondering why everyone was up in arms over Virginia debating a law that Texas had already set into place. And I wasn't alone. Former Texas Observer journalist Abbey Rapoport asked this morning over at The Prospect "Where Was the Outrage Over Texas's Sonogram Law." The Texas Tribune's Emily Ramshaw also remarked at the different reactions to the law, bolstered by a Saturday Night Live skit and Virginia's battleground status.
It got me wondering if everyone just slept through the last session, so I turned to the internet in an effort to rationalize some of this with data. Below is a chart showing Google search insight over the last year. You can see that the red line, searches for "Texas sonogram," peaks somewhat during the legislative session and again when the bill was being debated in court. But the search trends and interest in the Texas Transvaginal Corridor were nowhere near as drastic as they are for Virginia's.

I decided to narrow down my focus to Texas to see what our best and brightest were really interested in during the last few months. So I threw in some other search terms that I thought might be more reflective of the general interests of everyday Texans.
Well, that was a bad idea.

If this is starting to depress you, take heart: only one in three Texans have access to and use the internet, according to a 2010 Census report. But actually, that's not very comforting either because it very well may be one of the reasons there was a considerable lack of hoo-rah surrounding the Texas Republican majority poking around in women's hoo-hahs.

We're the third lowest state in the nation in the number of individuals using the internet, beating out only Mississippi and West Virginia. Whereas nearly seventy five percent of Virginians have access to and use the internet, which is right around the national average, we're about ten points behind. There's a definite virality behind our political process these days and if more than half of all concerned citizens are not able to be a part of the process, then it's no wonder word isn't making it outside of the violet echochamber of Austin.


A few words regarding the Obama contraception compromise

Obama offered a compromise yesterday that allows women who work for religious organizations to continue to receive access to contraception by requiring their health insurance providers to offer it for free. Of course that caused people to cry "Cop out!" and "Obama caved again!" all over the internet. I got a phone call from KVUE reporter Mark Wiggins asking if I'd go on camera to talk about the issue. The clip, and my thoughts on the matter, are below (transcript and video also here).

I'm not sure when "compromise" became a bad word in politics but we need to stop making it into one if we want to have any progress in our political system. If you value women's health and religious freedom, this is a win-win.