Political comic strip Doonesbury will debut an abortion storyline next week, with a particular focus on the Texas law requiring pregnant women to receive a transvaginal ultrasound and then wait 24 hours before having an abortion.
Some papers will opt not to run the strip due to its explicit and controversial content. The storyline involves a woman going in for an abortion and being sent to the "shaming room" where she's asked, "Do your parents know you're a slut?" Once there, the woman endures a transvaginal ultrasound, with the doctor saying, "By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape."
In an interview, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau stands behind the storyline while acknowledging that he knew some newspapers would reject it. He says ignoring the abortion debate would be "comedy malpractice," and goes on to explain why he felt comfortable calling the mandatory transvaginal ultrasound "rape."
Texas's HB-15 isn't hard to explain: The bill says that in order for a woman to obtain a perfectly legal medical procedure, she is first compelled by law to endure a vaginal probe with a hard, plastic 10-inch wand. The World Health Organization defines rape as "physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration — even if slight — of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object." You tell me the difference.
Newspapers that refuse to run the politically-charged strips will be running Doonesbury "Flashbacks" instead. Of course, they'll have to avoid the 1985 storyline in which the comic parodied anti-abortion film The Silent Scream.
[Image via AP]