Local Papers Mull Using Doonesbury Abortion Law Strips

Updated 3/9 – 8:02 p.m.

NORTH TEXAS (AP/CBSDFW) – A national syndicate will offer replacement “Doonesbury” comic strips to newspapers that don’t want to run an upcoming series that uses graphic imagery to lampoon a Texas law that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion, officials said Friday.

Papers were debating the use and placement of next week’s strips by cartoonist Garry Trudeau, whose sarcastic swipes at society’s foibles have a history of giving headaches to newspaper editors.

“We’ve heard from a handful of papers that are uncomfortable with running the series and want substitutes,” said Sue Roush, managing editor at the Universal UClick syndicate. “Garry has provided us with substitutes in case anyone asks.”

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.”

The new state law does not specify the type of sonogram a woman must receive, but an invasive transvaginal ultrasound is necessary to meet requirements that the doctor show the woman an image of the fetus, describe its features and make the fetal heartbeat audible in the first trimester. The procedure uses a wand inserted in the vagina to yield an image and differs from an abdominal sonogram, in which the wand is rubbed over a woman’s belly.

Asked for a comment on the “Doonesbury” series, Perry spokesman Catherine Frasier said, “The decision to end a life isn’t funny.”

Several newspapers that already opt to publish “Doonesbury” on opinion pages said the Texas series still would run, while others said they would move the series from the comics to op-ed pages.

CBS 11 contacted the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram to see what they would be doing.

Morning News editor Bob Mong said in an email his paper will run the comic.  “Our readers are smart and can make up their own minds about what they think,” he said.  “Each of our comics has its own devoted following.”

Star-Telegram editor Lois Norder says their newsroom is still in discussion over the series.

The Morning News carries the strip in their comics section.  The Star-Telegram runs it in the Opinion section, along with political cartoon Mallard Fillmore.

Universal UClick president Lee Salem said he wouldn’t be surprised if 20 to 30 of the 1,400 newspapers that carry “Doonesbury” decided to opt out and run the replacement series.

“Once every five or six months there’s usually something in `Doonesbury’ that causes a stir. Every two or three years there’s something that causes a bigger stir.

This is probably one of those times,” Salem said. “Historically, that’s par for the course with `Doonesbury’ because Garry explores topics on comics pages that are not normally there.”

Six installments of “Doonesbury” satirizing the anti-abortion movie “The Silent Scream” were canceled in 1985 when the syndicate decided it was too controversial to be distributed.

Other states recently have enacted laws requiring pre-abortion ultrasounds, although Virginia removed a provision from its measure that specifically called for the invasive exam. The measure in its original form had become a target of national political columnists and the word “transvaginal” was lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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One Comment

  1. Sue Hanley says:

    While Texas implemented the law, eight other states are also debating legislation that has the same criteria. That, in my opinion, makes it a matter of public discourse. Why would some papers not run the comic strip? There’s media coverage of the laws and debates themselves. Once you open the door, seems like you should be prepared to accept the criticism as well as the accolades.

  2. Jeff Bishop says:

    The major media in Texas is tied to the same business interests that keep financing Perry and the Republicans. They have no serious interest in saying anything critical.

  3. Martin Timothy says:

    Gary Trudeau’s skilled art and gifted text, published in newspapers world wide, was able to convey the pulse of US society into the minds of readers, like no other commentator or columnist, at least since 1968 and the Vietnam war!

    His airy Norman Rockwellesque characters, became the Americans we all wanted to be .. in charge, urbane ppl whose up front manners, and easy ways of problem solving, surely carried many workers thru his or her day!

    He has from the start prostituted his talent, and avoided the tough Zionist unfriendly issues, while if he ever heard of Jews, Zionists and claims of Holocaust fraud, he never allowed that knowledge to seep into his cartoons.

    The floating restaurant bombs in Saigon were false flags, no less than 911 and the Gulf of Tonkin incident .. his CIA anti heroes were real ppl, whose real crimes became as easy to live with, as Zonker’s casual disdain for real work!

    Trudeau is well aware abortion is genocide .. he like everyone else in his generation, has witnessed white ppl removed from the demographic in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia!

    And now he wants his usual indulgent rubbish to replace reasoned debate, whence one side says the abortioners, along with their cheer squad in politics and news dissemination, are guilty under Islamic Law at least, of a capital offense in each and every case.

    Expect a death toll commensurate with the amount of abortion kills, only after due process by the US Justice Department, whence summonses will be issued to all abortion killers, and the entire Zionist media and political alliance that perped 911 .. should take care of the problem!

  4. Lazarusbrands says:

    I really hope the sweet ol’ Auntie StellaGram does not attempt to play news nanny for us all. I would hate to have to tell her to quit coming to my house every day! I do so enjoy the fact that she is much more grown-up and open-minded on most things than her neighbor, D.M. Newz, who we already had to tell not to come around our house any more.

    Auntie StellaGram has been like an oasis in a metroplex of otherwise myopic dailies.

    If I really just want the politically skewed news as prescribed for all “GCB’s” as prescribed by Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention spoon fed to me… I would either dumb down my intellect and let the incubus that is Faux Newz suck out my soul, or let D.M. Newz back into the yard!

    No thanks!!! I embrace my LIBERAL ELITISM with a healthy dose PAGAN PRIDE!

    1. Atheist Lawyer says:

      Chill. Embrace what you have but don’t make villains out of others with different views. I think the belief in a personal God is primitive and stupid, but I’d never scream at someone for believing in that.

      1. Lazarusbrands says:

        ITS MY COMMENT… AND I’LL SCREAM IF I WANT TO!!! The rights of the Right end when they are used to intimidate, repeal, or otherwise usurp the rights of the Left and Center.

        Sometimes, SCREAMING is beneficial. Oppressed by Bathists or oppressed by Baptists, IT IS STILL OPPRESSION!!!

    2. Nontheist says:

      LOL. This coming from someone who practices pagan religions, another empty faith, supported by air and nonsensical beliefs. Christian, pagan, Hindu, etc., – it’s all BS.

      I want to agree with the lawyer, but on the other hand, I really want to scream at all these idiots. ALL OF THEM!

  5. SS says:

    Garry Trudeau should have been an illustrator in the 1930s and put in a death camp in Poland.

    1. Lazarusbrands says:

      SS, you are a sad, sad person… So sorry to hear about your “Teenie-weenie” complex! History suggests that your fuehrer had the same problem. But, water it hon… and maybe it will grow.

      1. S S says:

        Who said I’m a male, idiot?

      2. Lazarusbrands says:

        SS- Either way, it appears you have a severe case of weenie-envy!

    2. Leah says:

      I agree with you……Trudeau adds nothing positive to society….He is just a “Shock Jock” and does it for attention…..Well, Duh, He got it !

      1. Lazarusbrands says:

        So, if all “shock jocks” belong in Nazi death camps in Poland, send Rush Limpballs, Glen Beck, Howard Stern and Don Imus first! Then who will you get your marching orders from? Oh, yeah… some facist evangelist or another.

  6. Concerned says:

    Let’s get everyone to agree with the powerful people with their own agendas that providing a woman full information to make her decision is an absurdity! Let’s all play “Simon Says” and laugh and carry on in our own little worlds. Why on earth would anyone – whether pro-choice or pro-life – want information withheld??? Let’s forget about who was behind getting this passed and why! Can we not just realize that we have been given the opportunity to stop the withholding of some information from those who are in the process of making an important decision! Why did the slave-holders want it to be against the law to teach slaves to read? They could say all day long that it was for the good of the slaves but we know who it really benefited – the powerful and wealthy slaveholders. I, for one, am so tired of the powerful using the media to tell us what to think!! We need to truly stand up for our own rights!

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