Doonesbury Abortion Comic Should Be Seen by All Americans

ultrasound machineAfter that ridiculous uproar over state-"forced rape" in Virginia last month, you'd think it would be safe to say that other states' ultrasound laws would be dead in the water. But oh no! As of February, Texas law requires that women seeking abortions undergo an ultrasound that will pick up the heartbeat of the fetus. Because, you know, apparently women aren't capable of making an educated decision about abortion unless they and their doctors are forced to participate in this procedure, which, in early pregnancy, has to be done transvaginally.

Some in the Lone Star state may not have a problem with the logic behind the law, but political satirist Garry Trudeau is aiming to show the other side of the debate with a Doonesbury comic strip set to run in newspapers nationwide this week. And of course, being that it's such a hot-button topic (who the heck knows why 39 years after Roe v. Wade ...), some papers are refusing to run the strip.

Their argument?

It's not that they can't run the strip on their op-ed pages instead of the comic page, or that their readers can't handle strong political and social commentary. Instead, they're passing on it altogether, because language used in the strip is "quite graphic," in the words of the managing editor of The Gainseville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner in central Florida. It seems they're opposed to some of Trudeau's tongue-in-cheek captions, like one that reads, "The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10" shaming wand," and the line, "By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape."

Wah wah, guess adult readers of newspapers can't handle barely PG-13 language!

Really, what does that say about this Texas law -- or any law forcing women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds that are not medically required -- that newspapers are trying to shield readers' eyes from a satire of it? Maybe that it crosses the line ... maybe that there's some truth to the criticism of it?

Either way, the bottom-line here is that any media outlet refusing to run the Doonesbury comic is silencing a valid part of the debate. How can we truly understand the controversy if we aren't willing to consider opposing perspectives? No, this isn't necessarily "comfortable" subject matter, but it isn't supposed to be! The nature of the law should make us uneasy, because it is one of the current and clear examples of government overstepping their bounds. But whether you believe that or not, satire on the subject has a place in the national conversation. There's simply no good reason for newspapers to be quashing one side of the story.

Do you think the Doonesbury comic adds something to the debate and should be run by newspapers across the nation?


abortion, politics, media

58 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Skyhook Skyhook

As a Texan, I dont see what the big deal is. So, women are pissed that they can't comfortably screw whoever they want unprotected, then have the baby murdered and ripped out without going through an exam



ALL pregnant women who aren't murdering their babies have the SAME exam. Its the only way to detect a heartbeat in a tiny fetus, when I belly ultrasound can't detect it.



I think, that if you dont like it, don't ask for an abortion in Texas.

MrsKi... MrsKittyKat

I think its weird that they're making a big deal of a transvaginal ultrasound.  Its not a punishment, its procedure.  If a women wants an abortion, hopefully its too early to do an ultasound through the stomach.  They need to know how far along you are to do it.  I think you have to be at least 8 weeks, or maybe 5, I forget to be honest.  So its just part of it.  I think this whole argument is just propaganda.

tinyp... tinypossum

It is what it is: The World Health Organization defines rape as “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration — even if slight — of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object." 

nonmember avatar qwerty

@Skytool - You really didn't need to tell us you were a Texan, your ignorance spoke for you. Also, not all women have the transvag. Usually, the doctor waits until a heartbeat can be heard through the abdominal US unless the patient wishes. I had three healthy babies and have never had the transvag. Third, abortion is entirely legal, and we don't have to ASK for s@#$!

MrsKi... MrsKittyKat

Its not forced if its part of the medical procedure that they asked for.  Its so bizarre to vilify a medical instrument. 

Todd Vrancic

The inflammatory comments about what a transvaginal ultrasound entails makes a difficult medical procedure that much more traumatic.  A transvaginal ultrasound is one of the ways they can detect fibroids and ovarian cysts.  In these cases, it is medically necessary.  Using a transvaginal ultrasound unnecessarily and as a punishment will likely make women who need one wish to avoid it more. 

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I'm pro choice. If u want an abortion no problem. But I honestly don't see the issue with the ultrasound. Doctors have to make sure your not pass the time to get a legal abortion. Some people do lie about how far along they are its called c.y.a. Why not get the ultrasound it's not going to stop you from gettin the abortion.

the4m... the4mutts

This is demeaning to actual RAPE. I find this offensive, and ignorant.

Its a medical procedure, and done to protect not only the doctor, but the patient. You don't want someone to do an abortion, pull it out and go "oh shit! Its older than we thought!" Do you?

And for all your bitching about "what, women can't be trusted to make an informed decision?"

This is PART of becomin informed! She should be informed of what gestational stage she is REALLY in, be informed if its ectopic or not, be informed about the procedure in general. How can she be better informed, if its too early to see well with an external ultrasound?

I have said my piece, and I'm sure it won't break any hearts, but I will not be checking for replies.

Comparing this to RAPE is grossely insulting to those of us who have been raped. Especially those of us who became pregnant due to rape.

jkm89 jkm89

You do not need a transvaginal ultrasound to have a safe abortion.



Let's just call this what this is. Slut-shaming women who have abortions because republicans are pissed that it's legal and they just have to do something to feel better about not getting their way.



Also, the argument of "well they were willing to be sluts and have sex with everyone so they shouldn't mind having a transvaginal!", is bullshit! That's like saying women who have had consensual sex shouldn't mind being raped because, well, they have had sex before so why should they care about someone violating their rights and bodies!



Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it, geniuses?

nonmember avatar blh

IIm pro choice but obviously if youre pregnant, you have no problem with something in your vagina. Ive had a vaginal ultrasound and its not a big deal at all. I thought they had to do to ultrasounds to see how far along you were and to make sure its not an ectopic pregnancy or something. If you really want an abortion that will hardly stop you.

1-10 of 58 comments 12345 Last