Doonesbury Comic Series On Abortion Rejected By Several Newspapers

March 12, 2012 12:25 p.m.

Updated: 5:00 p.m. ET

Several newspapers are rejecting a “Doonesbury” comic strip running this week that lampoons Republican efforts to roll back female reproductive rights.The first comic, created by Garry Trudeau, shows a young woman seeking an abortion. She is asked to sit in the “shaming room” and told that a “middle-aged, male state legislator” will be with her shortly. The strip specifically pokes fun at a Texas law that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion. The series runs throughout the week.

A number of newspapers — the syndicated comic appears in about 1,400 of them — are either not running the strip or moving it to the op-ed pages. Media blogger Jim Romenesko has rounded up the reasons, which include: “went over the line of good taste and humor” (Oregonian); “I am concerned about the graphic content” (Vacaville, CA Reporter); and “The Texas abortion cartoons venture too far for the comics pages” (The Press of Atlantic City).

A newspaper in Texas decided to run the series. The El Paso Times‘ editor, Bob Moore, said “The ‘Doonesbury’ series on the new Texas law is, in the tradition of the strip, pointed and destined to stir discussion. That fits with the purpose of our opinion page. We expect our readers will engage in a discussion of the contents of the latest ‘Doonesbury’ installment, and we look forward to carrying parts of that discussion on our opinion pages and our digital platforms in the coming days.

And Trudeau stands by the strip. “To ignore it would have been comedy malpractice,” he told the Washington Post. It’s also apparently the first time Trudeau has tackled abortion. “Roe v. Wade was decided while I was still in school” he said. “Planned Parenthood was embraced by both parties. Contraception was on its way to being used by 99-percent of American women. I thought reproductive rights was a settled issue. Who knew we had turned into a nation of sluts?”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office is not amused, calling the comic tasteless. “The decision to end a life is not funny,” Perry spokesperson Lucy Nashed told TPM. “The governor’s proud of his leadership on the sonogram law … and being a staunch defender of unborn life.”

See the comic strip here.

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