A clean, well-lit place to vent

Please feel free to contribute to this frequently-updated forum, which posts selected commentary on our favorite comic strip. If you’d like your critique to be posted, please note that civility, if not approbation, counts. Click here to submit a comment.

Robert C. Harris | Danbury, CT | March 15, 2012

Our local paper gets their product into the Danbury public schools through a program called Newspapers in Education (NIE). I was quite surprised on Monday morning when I realized that The News Times, a Hearst newspaper, chose not to run the controversial abortion strip series. This is the same publication that brought former President Bill Clinton's sexual antics into our homes and schools in 1998. How many family dinners were challenged with conversations about oral sex? People will remember Monica Lewinsky long after a forgotten Gov. Rick Perry leaves office. It was wrong for Hearst Newspapers to remove and replace this strip.

Marcia M. | Boulder, CO | March 15, 2012

I've changed my Twitter image to a Scarlet Letter. Thanks to Garry Trudeau for coming up with the symbol of an anti-Occupy movement: Keep your government probes out of our bodies!

Been There | Edmonton, CANADA | March 15, 2012

I, for one, am glad to see some actual discussion on this big issue. Back in 1988, I had to make an agonizing decision when my daughter was only four months old. I chose to have an abortion. The father refused to help me with the decision on whether to have the baby, and my living child had major health issues that required a heart monitor. I was terrified that the second child would have the same issues as well, so I chose to abort. The father blames me to this day that it was all my fault for aborting his child. As for why no birth control -- well, I was told that the pill and breastfeeding do not mix, and the condom broke. Was also told I wouldn't get pregnant while I was breastfeeding. Yeah, um false. For me, when I was faced with another unexpected pregnancy, I had him as I just couldn't go through the trauma of another abortion. For me it was traumatic as I didn't have all the facts until after. That doesn't mean though that there shouldn't be that option.

Luis | Brasilia, BRAZIL | March 15, 2012

I am a longtime occasional reader, and just want to let you know it is an amazing thing that you are doing. This hard slap is long overdue; I just wish more people had your courage to run with news like that. It is a discussion the whole society should be having, not just a group mostly composed of men. We should start a campaign that everyone that wants Viagra should have a tube examine the inside of their urethra and a rectal exam at the same time every time they need their "magic" pill. Equal rights also means that the women should be equally a part of the discussion, and respected -- not called murderers and sluts for expressing their opinion. Thank you for doing what many of us do not have the courage to do: shining a bright light over it.

L. Cassidy | TENNESSEE | March 15, 2012

My two cents: As someone who has had several friends who were sexually assaulted and watched them struggle with the long-term effects, I wouldn't equate an ultrasound with rape. However, this procedure is extremely invasive. I had to have a medically necessary transvaginal ultrasound and it was very painful. The head of the wand is huge and it was surprisingly painful going in. Also, they don't just insert the wand; they hold at it different weird angles so that they can get better imaging and that hurts like the dickens. Afterwards, I went out to my car and just cried. I was shaken not only by how much it hurt but also my emotional response to it. I think people often assume, wrongly, that because the vaginal canal is designed for sex and birth that women should feel comfortable having something inserted in something as “benign” as a medical environment. Wrong.

The second time I had to have one, it took the tech about five minutes to insert it because I kept flinching and scooting away. It was less traumatic the second time but no less painful. These exams are not medically necessary for women seeking abortions, and to impose one on those who are already going through a traumatic experience is awful. You don't have to agree with the pro-choice stance; you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, but this legislation goes beyond political rhetoric and delves into unethical territory by legally imposing a singular moral perspective under the guise of medicine and using a medical procedure that doctors agree is unnecessary as a tool of coercion and shame.

Susan | Zachary, LA | March 15, 2012

As a woman and a mother with daughters ranging in age from 32 to 16 I am all for a woman's right to know exactly what any proceedure will do to her; body, mind and spirit. Seeing a pre-born human on a sonogram is absolutely educational and a positive tool into seeing what is transpiring in your own body. Ninety-nine percent of sonograms are topical and non invasive.

Susan | NEW YORK | March 15, 2012

As someone who has both had an abortion (due to birth control failure) and survived a rape in my years on this earth, I can say that yes this unneeded coerced procedure is tantamount to rape. Most definitely. Women are able to make their own decisions about their healthcare. I am stunned that this is even in contention. Thank you for writing these strips. Maybe Texas should revamp its tourist slogan to "Texas, where they charge to rape you."

Susan Trembly | Greenville, SC | March 15, 2012

Wow. Your recent cartoons are really sad to me. I know you like being controversial, but to make light of a serious, life-threatening subject is so apalling. I, like many women, have had a trans-vaginal ultrasound. I would say, although i've never been raped, it would not be the same thing. Do you not take seriously the fact that, in making a choice whether to abort or not involves not only the bearer but the bearee? An innocent child? It's not a child? Well, I've had four fetuses and they've all turned into children. Please reconsider this subject for your latest strip. I believe it deserves more serious thought and consideration.

Sophie | Minneapolis, MN | March 15, 2012

Many people seem to think that the phrasing of the final line in today's strip ("By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape") is offensive to Christians because it mimics religious language. These people are being offended by the wrong thing. A law that mandates object-rape to punish women seeking abortions should be far more offensive to Christians and people of all religious (and non-religious) backgrounds. If you believe abortion is a sin, you can believe it is a sin. The Bible is actually pretty vague on abortion, but quite clear on adultery. And when confronted with an adulteress and the mob that wanted to stone her, Christ called them off. He certainly didn't tell them to rape her in his name.

Jeanne McMenemy | Walla Walla, WA | March 15, 2012

Thank you Mr. Trudeau for your courage, perspicacity and artful ability to use humor to catalyze reflection and engagement in these difficult times. (As difficult as all times have been, I assume.) My local paper, the Walla Walla Union Bulletin, owned by the Seattle Times, was too cowardly to print this week's strips, so I am grateful that I can read them online. And also grateful for the very interesting and thoughtful "Blowback" comments. Much more enlightening, thought-provoking and entertaining than most of what I see in any of the pages of the Union Bulletin. Thank you again.

Robert B. Warner | Charlottesville, VA | March 15, 2012

I have told many friends how wonderful your stories of our soldiers are. Your purple heart strip made me cry. I do not want a horrible world for my wife and daughers, the one the extreme right wants for all women. Thank you for taking on this terrible topic with such grace and satire. We have just come through our Virginia Legislature making us laughingstock of the world.

Lawrence Frank | Brooklyn, NY | March 15, 2012

Perry spokeswoman says, ""The decision to end a life is not funny. [We want to] ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision." There is nothing funny about starting a life. Why not legislate family counseling for every man before he has sex? And required periodic (monthly, say) refresher counseling. Answer: because this is a war on women (poor women, especially), not a war on men.

LeAnna | Vashon, WA | March 15, 2012

Today's strip: Just wow... And I'm loving the comments, both the ones I agree with and the ones that I don't agree with. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for doing the strips for this week. The punchline should make everyone be uncomfortable, whether one is Pro-choice or Pro-life. That's the freaking point of it all. Not to necessarily get a laugh (although bless you Mr. Trudeau for all you do in that regard.)

Denise Walters | COLORADO | March 15, 2012

I've had transvaginal ultrasounds to diagnose a wanted pregnancy and more recently to diagnose other issues. Always with my consent. I cannot imagine a "non-consenting" transvaginal ultrasound, and would indeed feel violated and raped. Your use of the word "rape" is completely appropriate, and anyone offended by that doesn't get the point.

Melita Toon | Green Valley, AZ | March 15, 2012

I can only hope that the persons who condemned the use of the word "rape" in this particular strip have never been subjected to rape of any kind, molestation, domestic violence, or bullying. Until you have personally been subjected to that unspeakable horror, you don't have the comprehension to condemn something you know nothing about -- an act that affects victims in the most personal manner.

D.J. | Gardiner, ME | March 15, 2012

Legislating any specific medical procedure seems like a bad idea, whether one is pro-choice or pro-life. Had the founding fathers done so, we'd all be walking around with leeches on our wounds, high on laudanum.

Maggie | Bisbee, AZ | March 15, 2012

You went there. Thank you.

Andrea | Bay Area, CA | March 15, 2012

Thank you for taking on the issue of forced transvaginal ultrasounds. This series of comics touched me because it clearly illustrates that this is about controlling and shaming women, pure and simple. I'm a doctor working in gynecology in San Francisco, and when I was in med school, I worked at a summer camp for at-risk kids. I saw children at that camp who literally had never had an adult to love them, having spent their lives in foster care or group homes after been given up at birth by parents who had no wish to raise them -- not to mention the kids who were gay and had been thrown out of their homes by their "Christian" families.

What plans do politicians such as Mr. Santorum or Gov. Perry have to restore the dignity of these children? They devote a great deal of campaign and legislative time ranting about the sanctity of the embryo or fetus whilst berating gay kids (whither John 13:34? 1 John 3:17?) and vetoing bills that would fund school lunches and health care for children (fun fact: lacking health insurance is a major risk factor for death in children who become very ill). If these comic strips make people angry, they should. Thank you for having the courage to show that these are real women whose lives and privacy are being invaded. Anyone who cares about the sanctity of life should be angry; politicians such as Santorum, Perry, Brownback et. al. hatefully demean women while ignoring the very real needs of children who are no longer politically important because they are out of the womb.

Alice Walker | Boston, MA | March 15, 2012

I was enjoying the strips that deal the Texas law requiring transvaginal ultrasound for pregnancy termination -- until today. No matter how well intentioned you are, rape should never be a punchline.

Susan Harris | NEW YORK | March 15, 2012

The Republican Party has lost its mind, and I think I found it in my uterus.