It seems that some newspaper editors think that a "10-inch ultrasound wand" does not belong in the funnies section of their papers — and their reluctance is getting national attention. The comic that is causing the uproar is Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury. Several newspapers around the country have decided not to publish the popular satirical comic this week because of a storyline dealing with those now-infamous ultrasounds.
Although Doonesbury often deals with politics, it has been more than 20 years since Trudeau last tackled the subject of abortion. In a recently released statement defending the strip, Trudeau said: "This is happening in statehouses across the country…it's lunacy, and lunacy, of course, is in my wheelhouse."
The first comic, which came out Monday, shows a young women arriving at a medical center for an abortion. The receptionist hands her a form, tells her to be seated in the "shaming room" and lets her know that a "middle-aged male state legislator" will be with her in a moment. As we have seen from the now-notorious all-male panel on the contraception mandate and laws cutting women's health care across our country, some politicians are trying to get between a woman and her doctor in making decisions about her pregnancy .
Like many women in Texas, the female character in the Doonesbury comic is not safe from the humiliations set by these politicians. In one of the comic strips this week, her doctor reads a script from Gov. Rick Perry welcoming her to her "compulsory transvaginal exam."
Recently while speaking at a Pastors Policy Conference, Perry said that "when presented with all the information, every person can make the right choice, the only choice, life." Well it seems like Perry and many other anti-choice politicians would like to make the choice for us, and have us be political pawns in a seemingly unending game over when and how women make decisions about their families.
At the ACLU, we will continue to fight for access to reproductive health care for women and their families, and unlike Perry and the legislators depicted in Doonesbury, we leave the choice up to them.