US print panic over Doonesbury satire

Around a dozen US newspapers have raised questions about an abortion-related Doonesbury comic strip set for publication next week, and some will likely not run it, the syndicate behind the cartoon said on Friday.

The cartoon’s story line for Monday through Saturday focuses on a Texas law that requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on pregnant women before the procedure, said Sue Roush, managing editor for Universal Uclick, the syndicate behind Doonesbury.
The law, which went into effect earlier this year, is intended to give pause to pregnant women before having an abortion and possibly reconsider their decision.
A similar bill was signed into law earlier this week by Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell that also requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion.
In the Doonesbury strip, a woman goes to a Texas clinic to have the procedure and is forced to get a sonogram, Ms Roush said.
The cartoon ends with the woman going home to wait 24 hours before having the abortion, as the Texas law requires, Ms Roush said.
The woman is a new character in Doonesbury, she said. Editors from about a dozen newspapers have reached out with questions about the strip authored by Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Trudeau, with some newspapers asking about whether an alternate strip will be offered, Roush said.
In 1985, Trudeau and his syndicate reached a mutual decision not to distribute strips that satirized the anti-abortion movie The Silent Scream which they thought would be controversial. — Reuters

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