Star Tribune and Pioneer Press spike abortion-related Doonesbury 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

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
-- 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.

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