Comic Strip Stirs Up Controversy Over Texas Abortion Law

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- The political comic strip 'Doonesbury' has a history of stirring up trouble. This week, the creator is at it again. This week's comic series is attacking a Texas abortion law, likening it to rape.

'Doonesbury' kicked off Monday with a six day series slamming a new Texas law. It requires women seeking an abortion to get a sonogram 24 hours before the procedure. They can decide not to look at the images or listen to the heartbeat, but they must hear about the fetus' development.

On Monday, the comic strip's creator, Gary Trudeau, depicts a pregnant woman asking for an abortion. In one frame, a clinic employee says to her, "You'll need to fill out this form. Please take a seat in the shaming room."

Throughout the week, the strip will eventually liken the ultrasound procedure to rape.

If you're looking for the 'Doonesbury' comic series this week in the Midland Reporter Telegram, you're not going to find it in the comics section. The paper has placed the series at the bottom of the opinion section, and they're running an alternative series, not the controversial one.

This week, papers around the country are also shifting gears. Some are choosing the alternative series, others are placing it in a different section of the paper and a few are choosing to simply not run any 'Doonesbury' comics.

Residents NewsWest 9 talked to said the series goes too far.

Kara Newton from Midland says, "There are some things that are way too serious and way too delicate to make fun of and that's what I feel like that comic is doing."

Loni Machacek says, "That hits close to home to a lot of people and I don't really think that's necessary. There are so many other things that he could write about."

Planned Parenthood in Midland wouldn't take a position on the comic series controversy but they said the sonogram law serves no true medical purpose.

President Karen Pieper Hildebrand says, "Its only purpose is to shame and humiliate women who've made a very difficult decision to have an abortion."

The organization thinks the law and recent cut to the funding of several women's health services shows the state is behind the times.

"They're not truly concerned about women's health, based on their choices," Hildebrand said.