Star Tribune and Pioneer Press spike abortion-related Doonesbury comics

Garry Trudeau.jpg
Garry Trudeau's website at Slate.com
Protect us from the comics!
Late last week, news broke that Pulitzer Prize-winning comic artist Garry Trudeau had a series set to run Monday through Saturday this week with a new character -- a young woman in Texas getting an abortion. The series is a pointed criticism of Texas's new anti-abortion, mandatory ultrasound law, which Trudeau has repeatedly called "lunacy."

Word also got out that several newspapers across the country were not going to run the strips, including our own. Media blogger Jim Romenesko reported that the St. Paul Pioneer Press was one of them.

"Not appropriate for Comics pages with its mix of Garfield and The Duplex," he was told by features editor Amy Nelson.

David Brauer of Minnpost reported that the Star Tribune would do the same. Both papers followed through this morning.

Trudeau's strips certainly do not mince words. In today's strip, the female protagonist shows up for her abortion and is led to the "shaming room" to await a "middle-aged, male legislator." By Thursday, as the woman is in the stirrups and about to get a required "transvaginal exam," the doctor says, "By the authority vested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape."

Here's the note the Star Tribune ran this morning:

To Our Readers:

We have substituted Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" cartoon strip planned for this week with alternatives.
We believe that the original strips planned for this week, regarding Texas' abortion laws, contained inappropriate material for family reading.
Newspapers around the country have handled this material in different ways. Some have pulled the strips from their pages; others have moved them to the editorial pages of inside the A section.
And some have run them as submitted, with or without warnings about the graphic material.
Star Tribune readers who want to see the original strips for this week can find them online daily at www.startribune.com/doonesbury.

Nancy Barnes, Editor

And here's the Pioneer Press notice:

Substitute 'Doonesbury' comics featured this week
The Pioneer Press is substituting previous Doonesbury comics this week on Page 2C for ones artist Gary Trudeau has created focusing on the topic of the Texas mandatory ultrasound law. The editors have decided the commentary in some panels is inappropriate for the comics section of the newspaper. Readers can still find the strips online at TwinCities.com/comics.
-- Mike Burbach, editor

So there you have it, Twin Cities. We are all safe this week from the scary, 42-year-old comic strip.

Incidentally, on Trudeau's homepage on Slate's website, he includes the following Michele Bachmann quote under the header "SAY WHAT?":

It isn't far-fetched to think that the President of the United States could say, 'We need to save health care expenses -- the federal government will only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family, or two babies to be born per family.' That could happen.

Similar coverage:



Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
Momhat
Momhat

I think it was a very responsible decision. I was reading the comics in the newspaper as soon as I could read, and they really are for kids. I think it's wrong for them to plunk something like that down in the kids' section of the paper. When it's a mere political cartoon, it just bores them and they move on, but when it crosses the line into confusing language about rape it belongs in the editorial section. What they are discussing is in fact not rape, and it is an insult to a woman who has actually been raped to call it that, but beyond that it's just not a good thing to expose kids to when they're reading the comics. Trudeau is getting old and his distinctions and judgment are not as sharp or as clever as they used to be.

Steve Miles
Steve Miles

The papers' decision are an shallow instance of editorial cowardice and double standard. As they protect us from the thoughtful Trudeau, the witless glorification of sergeants physically beating up privates will continue in Beetle. Corrupt business practices will be satirized in Dilbert.  Kelly will continue her adulterous pursuit of Mark Trail while adultery and homicide will grace other strips. 

Judy Nobles
Judy Nobles

I'm surprised and ashamed that your editorial board decided that Doonesbury's current series of strips was "unsuitable" for your delicate readers.  I had frankly expected better fromyou.  No surprise that the Pioneer Press, Backwater Times, Texas Truth, etc. wouldsurpress liberal, educated viewpoints, but YOU?   SHAME ON YOU!Judy Nobles, West St. Paul

Paperdolli
Paperdolli

Born and raised in the Twin City area this 67 year old gal cannot believe her eyes that our basically liberal press is wimping out like this.

What are we coming to?

E2TK
E2TK

This is "censorship" in the same manner that not printing every single letter to the editor is censorship.  It's their newspaper and if they don't want to print it that's their deal.

Larry Midwest
Larry Midwest

The editors of both twin city papers are whimps. They should be eating cold oatmeal with mothercare spoons.

Jack
Jack

This whole topic is just stupid.

cs
cs

Ah, I see there's a link in the story already. SHUSH, message board correctariats! ;)

cs
cs

For those who want to read it: gocomics[dot]com[slash]doonesbury (just in case these comments aren't link-friendly).

Weird how newspapers think censorship still works...

OhNoes
OhNoes

The irony is the comic is hardly provocative. Male lawmakers are making laws for women's reproduction and hilariously that it is pointed out in plain reality suddenly shocks ultra-conservatives.

webcelt
webcelt

I wouldn't call moving it to the editorial page censorship. The comics have an all-ages audience, and it still available to adults. If kids are up to reading the editorials, then they can handle these strips and seeing them doesn't sound like a problem. I do have a problem with just removing them from the print edition altogether. Putting them on the web isn't the same, not when many readers aren't there yet or might not even know that's what they have to do.

Asymmetrical Bob
Asymmetrical Bob

Censorship never works. More people will seek out and read these strips now that they've been pulled. Real smooth, Star Tribune. Maybe if Trudeau was a Mormon Fundamentalist with a hefty bankroll, he could pay the Strib to run an entire page of his comics.

Joe
Joe

 ...

Momhat
Momhat

That's good if more people seek out and read them. They will not doubt be looked at more thoughtfully if people have to take the extra step.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...