USA: Cartoon strip about abortion law removed by newspapers

25 June 2012

A Doonesbury cartoon strip about Texas abortion law has been removed by an increasing number of American newspapers

Garry Trudeau, whose satirical cartoon strip Doonesbury has been published by hundreds of newspapers around the word for decades, met unprecedented controversy after he planned to dedicate a week’s worth of strips to a satirical look at a woman visiting a healthcare clinic and seeking an abortion.

Dozens of papers asked in June 2012 for substitutes from the organisation that syndicates Doonesbury.

Garry Trudeau’s strip deals specifically with a 2010 American state law requiring a woman who wants to have an abortion to have an ultrasound scan, or sonogram, which will show an image of the foetus and other details, in an attempt to make her reconsider.

The strips portray a woman who turns up at an abortion clinic in Texas and is told to take a seat in “the shaming room”. A state legislator asks if she has been at the clinic before and, when she says she had been to get contraceptives, he replies: “Do your parents know you’re a slut?”

Garry Trudeau commented that he finds it disturbing that people should react like that to a strip that deals with what he calls the appalling state of women’s rights to contraception and the privacy of their own bodies.



Here’s what’s in the strips:

Monday: Young woman arrives for her pre-termination sonogram, is told to take a seat in the shaming room, a middle-aged male state legislator will be right with her.

Tuesday: He asks her if this is her first visit to the center, she replies no, that she’s been using the contraceptive services for some time. He says, “I see. Do your parents know you’re a slut?”

Wednesday: A different male is reading to her about the transvaginal exam process.

Thursday: In the stirrups, she is telling a nurse that she doesn’t want a transvaginal exam. Doctor says “Sorry miss, you’re first trimester. The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10″ shaming wand.” She asks “Will it hurt?” Nurse says, “Well, it’s not comfortable, honey. But Texas feels you should have thought of that.” Doctor says, “By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.”

Friday: Doctor is explaining that the Texas GOP requires her to have an intimate encounter with her fetus. He begins describing it to her. Last panel, he says, “Shall I describe it’s hopes and dreams?” She replies, “If it wants to be the next Rick Perry, I’ve made up my mind.”

Saturday: Back in the reception area, she asks where she goes now for the actual abortion. Receptionist tells her there’s a 24-hour waiting period: “The Republican Party is hoping you get caught in a shame spiral and change your mind.” Last panel: She says, “A final indignity.” Receptionist replies, “Not quite. Here’s your bill.”



Time – 12 March 2012:
Doonesbury Calls Texas Abortion Law ‘Rape’ in New Comic Strip
By Erica Ho


Gawker – 11 March 2012:
Doonesbury Calls Abortion Law “Rape”
By Louis Peitzman – 9 March 2012:
Report: some papers won’t be running next week’s ‘doonesbury’ strips
By Jim Romenesko
The Washington Post – 9 March 2012:
DOONESBURY: Next week’s abortion-law strips pulled by at least several papers
By Michael Cavna


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