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Doonesbury: Texas Invasive Abortion Law

Updated on March 15, 2012

Recently, a Doonesbury ‘comic strip’ rekindled my curiosity toward the Texas Law regarding Abortion procedures for women residents of the state. Prior to Mr. Trudeau’s controversial depiction of the Texas law, censored by a multitude of publications, I had been under a false impression. My assumption was predicated upon the notion an ‘ultrasound’ differentiated procedurally from a ‘Transvaginal’ sonogram.

In May of 2011, the Wall Street Journal Online ran an article regarding the Texas Legislature Bill, which would add conditions to women seeking an abortion. The prominent conditions included a compulsory sonogram in addition to a personified description regarding the stage of development of the fetus. The Bill’s sponsor, State Senator Dan Patrick, rationalized this legislature saying; "We believe that when they see the miracle of life some will change their minds."

The Center for Reproductive Rights took issue with this point of view. They cited the lack of evidence to support Ultrasounds affect a women’s decision concerning abortion. Furthermore, their organization contends the legislature violates patient rights and interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. Additionally, they threatened to take legal action similar to a lawsuit filed in Oklahoma, asserting it violated ‘state constitutional guarantees’ regarding patient privacy and a physician’s right to free speech.

Within a week, Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law.

A May 2011 article in the “Huffington Post” alluded to the fact, 14 similar state bills have been introduced thus far. The Texas mandate is described as the most extreme with respect to sonogram procedural laws to include Arizona and Louisiana. (Arizona, what…wait, what? I live in Arizona; I would argue vehemently, I of all people do not live under a rock. How in the hell did I miss that? This is really quite disconcerting!) The point of my digression being, these laws are most effective flying under the radar!

The Texas Tribune in a February 2012 piece examined the Texas Law regarding the sedentary response when compared to the Virginia bill’s public outrage. The argument, Texas being a Deep Red State, while Virginia was a Swing State, seemed to me untenable.

The Texas Abortion conditions, although more strict than those in the Virginia proposal, did not stipulate one specific item; The Invasive procedure. “…Texas law doesn’t specify what kind of ultrasound — belly or transvaginal — abortion providers say they almost always must use the transvaginal probe to pick up the heartbeat and describe the fetus at the early stage of pregnancy when most women seek abortions.”

Opponents in the Virginia legislature made this a monumental issue, giving their counterparts every opportunity to rescind or modify the language in the bill. This provided a platform for national debate and cemented the discourse of the “War on women” campaign.

Comic Strips can be a funny thing on so many levels. In an interview with the Washington Post regarding his controversial Doonesbury piece of work, Garry Trudeau summed it up thusly:

“Texas’s HB-15 isn’t hard to explain: The bill says that in order for a woman to obtain a perfectly legal medical procedure, she is first compelled by law to endure a vaginal probe with a hard, plastic 10-inch wand. The World Health Organization defines rape as “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration — even if slight — of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.” You tell me the difference.”


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    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Hey shyron,

      just got back to the virtual world from visiting reality. I highly recommend the experience to all. Its been far too long for this man.

      With regards to truth, regardless of it being in jest or not, truth is truth... or the perception there of...

      thanks for your comments, as always

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 6 years ago from Texas

      Truth is often spoken in jest! I love Doonesbuty, read it every week.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Thank you for your comments adjkp,

      I think you've touched a nerve as to why I am so conflicted. I too have done the coach thing with my sons. But when you have a daughter, the rules change overnight.

      I'd like to think of myself as an objective person. As a life long Republican, I find this movement personally offensive. I tell my GOP brethren, it is not me whom has abandoned you, it is you whom have abandoned me.

      Those words no longer make an impression upon them. I find myself to the left of center in their ideological world. I have not changed, they have.

      One day they decided to move the goal post and they chose not to include me on the gamechange.

      In any event, I appreciate your input and I thank you for adding substance to the hub as well as clarifying my personal internal conflict regarding this matter.

      Well Said and take care...

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 6 years ago from Northern California

      My local paper didn’t print any of these comics this week, until today. I wasn’t bothered by the comics one bit. My paper does print comics and editorials that I do not agree with. Guess what I do? I don’t read them, problem solved.

      They did post a short note about why they elected to not print the cartoons in the “child friendly” comics section. As a kid I remember wanting to read Garfield, The Family Circus or Dennis the Menace, not something like Doonesbury.

      Woman should really pay attention to what some individuals are trying to mandate.

      I am a man so I cannot speak to what it is to be pregnant but I’m pretty sure a woman knows that something is happening inside her body. Referring to a pregnant woman as naive is another example of how women are being put through the ringer right now. All of us came from a woman, just remember that.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Gifalcone: Since you mentioned it first (arizona pushing to be allowed to fire women for taking contraceptives) I'm giving you this link to the article i wrote today on that exact topic! no pressure, of course..

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      I am still amazed by the people I get to share thoughts with on the internet. Your comments have me shaking my head with a smile while I write a response.

      As a resident of the Great State of Arizona, I learned legislature has passed the State House and is off to the Senate requiring women whom use Birth control to inform their employer why they are using said Birth Control.I don't use this language on the internet as a rule, but my initial response to this news was..." You gotta be fucking kidding me!"

      Therefore, ImKarn, I tend to agree with your outrageous claim,"I believe they are hiding in women's vaginas in order to avoid the REAL issues of the country!" Well Said. Thank you for your colorful commentary as well as painting an image which shall linger for quite some time.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Texas and arizona are out of control! I believe they are hiding in women's vaginas in order to avoid the REAL issues of the country! As far as American Romance goes - he seems a tad 'naive' as to the enormity of the situation!

      Well done

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Hey Michele,

      No ads permitted due to the controversial nature of the hub.

      Interesting hub, thanks, but more interesting to me is the conversations that evolve.

      I think that is the point of the Doonesbury piece. This topic needs to be discussed. I was unaware of the Texas Law prior to the "Comic Strip."

      Thank you as always for your considered opinion. Hope all is well with you and yours.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This is an interesting hub. There are no ads on this hub. Another thing that is interesting about abortions and women and children, if you forbid abortions will you pay money to help raise a child? Maybe a child who's mother had been raped? or molested? Those things do happen. Not all abortions are getting rid of "things" What if the mother will die unless she has an abortion? If she cannot have one, then two will die but that is ok, she is only a woman.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      'Naive Women' is an Interesting choice of words American Romance. None the less the measures where indeed implemented to allow time to consider the ramifications of their decisions,as per the sponsor of the bill, State Senator Dan Patrick. Thanks for your comments.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 6 years ago from America

      cathy, its not there for health benifits, it is there to show naive women there is life inside them! make them think about the choice they are making and to add realism to actions.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      In my research I had read somewhere the Doonesbury strip would be placed in alternative sections in many publications carrying the Trudeau work. Another point of interest, Hubpages placed advertising restrictions on this hub due to controversial content.

      Thank you for your input Truckstop Sally and I too look forward to public reaction to the Doonesbury story, but more importantly their reaction to the Texas Law.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Interesting hub. I live in TX, and I was surprised to see a note in the comic section today that said something like -- because of the sensitive nature of today's Doonesbbury comic -- please find it in the "City" section . . . and leave a response at the paper's website. It will be curious to see what people say.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Thank you for your comments cathylynn99, I would imagine that is a substantial cost.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      also, the ultrasound adds monetary EXPENSE to the procedure without adding health benefits.


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