Newspapers Pull Doonesbury’s Abortion Comic Strip

A handful of newspapers say they won’t run this week’s “Doonesbury” comic strips because it uses graphic imagery and language to lampoon a Texas law requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer-winning creator of the oft-controversial comic strip called the legal statute “rape” and said that if he ignored the abortion-law debate he would have been guilty of “comedy malpractice.”

Universal Press Syndicate is offering replacement “Doonesbury” strips to newspapers that don’t want to run the series. Several newspapers decided to move the series from its usual spot in the comic section and run it on the op-ed page for the entire six-day run. Of the 1,400 papers that carry Doonesbury, many are opting not to run this arc at all. Some papers, including the Indianapolis Star, said the newspaper would use earlier “Doonesbury” strips instead.

This is not the first time “Doonesbury” confronted the issue of abortion. Trudeau published a 1985 series that mocked anti-abortion film The Silent Scream. He was also a vanguard in satirizing hot-button topics like drugs, AIDS, premarital sex, same-sex unions, and political corruption.