'Doonesbury' comic gets in on abortion debate, causes controversy

doonsbury-strip.jpgThe politically themed "Doonesbury" comic has caused some controversy over the years, but it may be making its biggest splash yet with an upcoming series of strips involving a Texas law that requires women to have an ultrasound before they have an abortion.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the national syndicate that supplies 1,400 newspapers with the comic strip will offer alternative "Doonesbury" strips to papers that don't want to get in on the debate.

Many editors that the WSJ interviewed about the comic say that they're planning on running the strips on their opinion pages so as not to cause too much controversy among their readership.

"We run 'Doonesbury' on our op-ed page, and this series is an example of why," says David Averill, editorial page editor for the Tulsa World. "Many of our readers will disagree with the political stance the series takes, and some will be offended by the clinical language. I believe, however, that this series of strips is appropriate to the abortion debate and appropriate to our op-ed pages."

According to the WSJ, the strips from cartoonist Garry Trudeau "feature 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.'"

Trudeau told the AP that he understands why the strip is causing such a ruckus. "Abortion remains a deeply contentious subject. Having said that, the goal is definitely not to antagonize editors and get booted from papers," he says. "It's just an occupational risk."
Photo/Video credit: Doonesbury.com
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