Around a dozen U.S. newspapers have raised questions about an abortion-related "Doonesbury" comic strip set for publication next week, and some will likely not run it, the syndicate behind the cartoon said on Friday.
The cartoon's story line for Monday through Saturday focuses on a Texas law that requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on pregnant women before the procedure, said Sue Roush, managing editor for Universal Uclick, the syndicate behind "Doonesbury."
Universal Uclick is offering an alternate from a year ago for those newspapers that want it, Roush said.
In 1985, Trudeau and his syndicate reached a mutual decision not to distribute strips that satirized the anti-abortion movie "The Silent Scream" which they thought would be controversial. The New Republic magazine ultimately ran the strips.
The Texas series features a woman who goes to an abortion clinic and is confronted by several people who suggest she should be ashamed. Among them is a doctor who reads a script on behalf of Texas Gov. Rick Perry welcoming her to a “compulsory transvaginal exam,” and a middle-aged legislator who calls her a “slut.”
One panel equates the invasive procedure to rape and describes the device used to perform it as a “10-inch shaming wand.”
“Our readers are accustomed to pointed political and social commentary in strips like ‘Doonesbury’ and ‘Mallard Fillmore,’” Tom McNiff, managing editor of The Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner in central Florida, said in an emailed statement explaining his papers’ decision not to run the series. “But the language the author used to make his point in two of the strips was quite graphic for a general readership.”
This is good news. With respect to Mr. Trudeau, he has lost his way. Pray that he returns some modicum of decency and respect to the “comics” section of the newspaper. There are other “comic strips” that also support agendas and are simply not funny.