"Doonesbury" Takes On Ultrasound Laws

The much-loved political cartoon "Doonesbury" ran an entire week of comic strips focusing on mandatory ultrasound laws beginning on March 12, 2012. More than 60 newspapers refused to run “Doonesbury” cartoons even though they were simply trying to humanize the struggles of women under Texas’s demeaning law.

The Center immediately launched an advocacy campaign asking supporters to email us if their local newspapers chose not to run the strips. As a result, we received thousands of emails reporting this censorship, but also applauding newspapers brave enough to run the strips in their entirety.

The Center filed a lawsuit against Texas’s invasive ultrasound law and took it all the way to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which declined to give us a full hearing—despite clear violations of the rights of women and their doctors.

The law is now being enforced, and women seeking an abortion must not only first get an ultrasound, but she will be required to be shown the ultrasound image and listen to her doctor describe the image in detail—even if she says NO.

We haven’t given up our fight in Texas and against similar laws cropping up around the country. The "Doonesbury" cartoons helped to show just how outrageous these laws are, and supporter activism made it clear that Americans don't want their news—or cartoons—censored.

DOONESBURY (c) 2012 G.B. Trudeau. Dist. by permission of Universal Uclick.

Here are some of the reasons newspapers gave for not running the cartoons:

“I am concerned about the graphic content.” (Rock Hill, SC Herald)

“The language in the original strips was not appropriate for a comic that could be viewed by children.” (Ogden, UT Standard-Examiner)

“Went over the line of good taste and humor.” (Oregonian)

* Newspapers that did not run the ultrasound edition of "Doonesbury":

  1. Abilene Reporter News (TX)
  2. Anniston Star (AL)
  3. Arizona Daily Star (AZ)
  4. Arizona Republic
  5. Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
  6. Bend Bulletin (OR)
  7. Birmingham News
  8. Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MT)
  9. Centre Daily Times (PA)
  10. Charleston Post and Courier
  11. Columbus Dispatch
  12. Connecticut Post
  13. Daytona Beach News-Journal
  14. The Eagle (TX)
  15. Elmira Star-Gazette (TX)
  16. Findlay Courier (OH)
  17. Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
  18. Fresno Bee
  19. The Gainesville Sun (FL)
  20. Gloversville Leader-Herald
  21. Greensboro News & Record
  22. The Harrisburg Patriot News (PA)
  23. Henderson Times-News (NC)
  24. The Herald, (SC)
  25. Indianapolis Star
  26. Journal News (NY)
  27. Lansing State Journal
  28. Leader-Herald (NY)
  29. Missoulian
  30. Newsday (Long Island)
  31. Norman Transcript
  32. Ocala Star-Banner (FL)
  33. Oregon Register Guard
  34. Oregonian (OR)
  35. Poughkeepsie Journal
  36. Press of Atlantic City ( NJ)
  37. Press and Sun-Bulletin (NY)
  38. Providence Journal
  39. Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
  40. Reading Eagle (PA)
  41. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
  42. Rock Hill Herald (NC)
  43. San Diego Union Tribune
  44. Santa Maria Times (CA)
  45. Spokesman-Review (WA)
  46. Standard-Examiner (Utah)
  47. St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
  48. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  49. StarNews (NC)
  50. Star Tribune (MN)
  51. Syracuse Post-Standard
  52. Tallahassee Democrat
  53. Tennessean
  54. Utica Observer-Dispatch
  55. Vacaville Reporter (CA)
  56. Winston-Salem Journal

Newspapers that ran the series on pages other than the comics:

  1. The Akron Beach Journal
  2. The Bennington Banner (VT)
  3. The Buffalo News will run the entire abortion series in their Sunday Editorial section
  4. Houston Chronicle (TX)
  5. The Kansas City Star (MO)
  6. The Los Angeles Times (CA)
  7. The Pocono Record will run the entire abortion series in their Sunday Editorial section
  8. The Portland Press Herald (ME)
  9. The Sacramento Bee
  10. The San Antonio Express News (TX)
  11. Seattle Times

* Sourced from CRR supporters.

** Please note that this list does not reflect every newspaper censoring the cartoons, just the ones we were able to verify.