This past week, the Doonesbury comic strip has been commenting on abortion, and, to their shame, many US newspapers have decided not to publish this series of strips.
Over the years, many US states have tried to limit the rights of women seeking safe and legal abortions. Recently, the state of Texas has introduced legislation seeking to limit and discourage abortion. The proposed laws would require a woman who wants an abortion to undergo an ultrasound scan, a sonogram and other invasive procedures to make her reconsider her decision. For many pro-choice advocates, these laws are just another attempt to shame and humiliate women who are already dealing with a painful decision.
I'm old enough to remember when abortion was illegal in most parts of the USA. Of course, women who had enough money could always obtain abortions by traveling to states where abortion was legal. However, for the vast majority of women, abortion was unobtainable. Many desperate women sought "back street" abortions, which often resulted in severe medical problems and even death. Moreover, strict criminal penalties associated with illegal abortions discouraged women from seeking immediate medical attention. For women unwilling to risk an illegal abortion, the fate of the unwanted child was adoption, foster care, and sometimes child neglect.
I don't want to return to a time when a woman had no control over her body. It's appalling that Texas is considering such an action.
However, what I find more frightening is that many US newspapers have refused to publish this series of Doonesbury strips for fear of alienating religious and conservative groups. Has the religious right gained so much power that meaningful discussion is now pushed out of print media?