Truth is hurtful sometimes.
A national syndicate will offer replacement “Doonesbury” comic strips to newspapers that don’t want to run a series that uses graphic imagery to lampoon a Texas law requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, executives said Friday.
A handful of newspapers say they would not run this week’s series, while several others said the strips would move from the comics to opinion pages or Web sites only. Many already publish the strip by Garry Trudeau on editorial pages, given that its sarcastic swipes at society’s foibles have a history of giving headaches to newspaper editors.
(click here to continue reading ‘Doonesbury’ Strip on Abortion Rankles Some Newspapers – NYTimes.com.)
The always essential media watcher Jim Romenesko has more details about the content, or you can always just read the comics yourself at http://www.doonesbury.com/strip. My local newspaper uses the truncated version of the Sunday strip, so I’ve long just read Doonesbury at the source.
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.”
(click here to continue reading Some newspapers won’t be running next week’s “Doonesbury” strips | JIMROMENESKO.COM.)
The Washington Post interviewed Gary Trudeau:
Comic Riffs caught up with Trudeau to ask him about how he approached the abortion series, how his syndicate supported the idea — and whether the nation’s comics editors have grown more or less skittish about controversial content on “the funny pages.”
[Note: Some language that follows merits a “PG” rating.]
MICHAEL CAVNA: In 1985, you — in apparent agreement with Lee Salem [at then-Universal Press Syndicate] — decided to pull a week of abortion-related strips around the film “The Silent Scream.” So what’s different now? Obviously the angle and execution and point of satiric attack vary some, but what’s changed that spurred you to create an abortion narrative in this climate?
GARRY TRUDEAU: In my 42 years with UPS, the “Silent Scream” week was the only series that the syndicate ever strongly objected to. Lee felt that it would be deeply harmful to the feature, and that we would lose clients permanently. They had supported me through so much for so long, I felt obliged to go with their call.
Such was not the case this week. There was no dispute over contents, just some discussion over whether to prepare a substitute week for editors who requested one. [We did.]
I chose the topic of compulsory sonograms because it was in the news and because of its relevance to the broader battle over women’s health currently being waged in several states. For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to re-litigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why [Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.
…Texas’s HB-15 isn’t hard to explain: The bill says that in order for a woman to obtain a perfectly legal medical procedure, she is first compelled by law to endure a vaginal probe with a hard, plastic 10-inch wand. 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.” You tell me the difference.