Fans of Doonesbury won’t find the comic strip in the Seattle Times funny pages this week. Editors have moved it to the news section because cartoonist Gary Trudeau is focusing on a controversial Texas abortion measure.
The law requires women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound procedure before getting an abortion. In Monday’s edition, a woman seeking an abortion is told to wait in a “shaming room” and “a middle-aged, male state legislator will be with you in a moment.”
“At least that would be less cowardly than what they’ve done, which is basically enlist doctors and nurses as their moral mercenaries to tell women what they can do,” says Ross and Burbank co-host Dave Ross about the strip and the law sparking it.
Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman told Seattle’s Morning News that editors debated whether to move the strip this week to avoid offending children.
“One of our editors spoke passionately as a parent about not wanting to have to explain some of the more graphic elements of this to her child,” said Boardman, who said the strip becomes more graphic and explicit in language throughout the week.
Ultimately, the paper opted to run it in the news section instead.
“It’s surprising to me but unless it becomes incredibly graphic in some way going forward, it doesn’t even strike me as moderately offensive,” responded co-host Luke Burbank.
Burbank argued Doonsebury is basically irrelevant to younger people and therefore its content should not be a concern.
“What this basically is, is it is people who say they believe in small government actually passing a law that says small government will forcibly put a wand inside a woman,” responded Ross.
Ross said he was particularly disturbed by newspapers that have no problem publishing stories about the controversial measure, but feel the need to “censor” the strip.
“So if that makes you uncomfortable, then I would say that Gary Truedau putting it in Doonesbury is the least of your problems,” Ross said.