Doonesbury strip takes aim at Texas sonogram law

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by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on March 12, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 12 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- The 42-year-old nationally syndicated comic "Doonesbury" by cartoonist Garry Trudeau is this week taking on Texas and Governor Rick Perry.

Trudeau's target is the controversial law passed in 2011 requiring women undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, a law which generated praise from anti-abortion groups and outrage from abortion rights groups. Monday's strip shows a female abortion patient being directed to a "shaming room" to meet with a "middle-aged, male state legislator."

Several newspapers around the country have either pulled or moved the cartoon, calling it too controversial for the comics. Monday's strip appeared in the "Classifieds" section of the Austin American-Statesman.

Opinions seem divided depending on how you look at the issue.

"I'm very sad that a Texas law is being made fun of in this manner, when all this is about is protecting the health of women," said Carol Everett, CEO of anti-abortion non-profit the Heidi Group.

"I think that trivializes that entire procedure," said Everett. "If a woman's having an abortion, first of all, she has no reason to be shamed, and if she is having an abortion, we do not need to be putting it in the comic section, first of all, where families and children may see it, or even the editorial page. We need to give that woman the privacy that she deserves when she makes that decision, yet a fully-informed consent."

"I think it's an accurate representation of the kind of shame that the government is mandating for women to have when they consider an abortion," countered Rachel Farris, a Democrat, activist and Austin-based political blogger. "They're moving the strip to the opinion pages, but this isn't an opinion anymore. In Texas this is the law, and unless we can change that law, what's the point of it being in the opinion pages?"

"Turning women's health into a political football is just in bad taste," Austin resident Roger Lambert told KVUE.

"I guess if anything draws attention to the subject that's good," said Austin resident Shruti Saran.

It's not the first time Trudeau has courted controversy. The cartoonist has sparked controversy numerous times with comic strips lampooning U.S. presidents and criticizing U.S. response to wars in Vietnam and Iraq.

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