Monday 12 March 2012

1st Amendment Censorship, Texas Abortion Law and Doonesbury Day 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

I've watched this weekend anxiously my own political party have a heated debate on a key issue of health reform. Each side was allowed to put its case. 

Listening as I often do, through the wonders of the internet, to American radio and TV, or reading their press I know that sometimes that debate is stiffled. Pro-Choice and Pro-Gay messaging is often knocked down, without any balance of the argument from the other side. This from a country that loves to talk up the freedoms granted to their citizens by their bill of rights, which includes the 4th Amendment above.

You see there is a freedom of speech and the press. Yet this week certain parts of the press are using their freedom to stifle one of their syndicated cartoon writers freedom of speech via their publications. Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury strip holds the mirror up to the bi-polar nature of American political thought. Where, you are either for or against something it seems, you cannot see good points of something while objecting to it overall. 

This week, the target of the cartoon in the Texas State Abortion Law which now requires women seeking an abortion to visit the abortion clinic twice! The first is 24 hours before the abortion can be carried out is so that a sonogram can be taken of the fetus. The mother can opt out of seeing the images and hearing the heaertbeat, but must listen to the description of the sonogram. There is also at this first visit be advise as to the risks, alternatives etc. before the mother is sent home to sleep on the matter. 

It forces the mother who probably already has taken sometime thinking about the decision to even attend for an abortion, to spend another night having been introduced to the fetus and given all the information that she wants. Both the added time penalty and this wait between the actions on day one and the termination are seen as adding emotional strain to women who are already going through all sorts of turmoil. 

However, the cartoon which tries to point out the turmoil from the women's perspective has been pulled from it's syndication slot in some papers, or moved from the family to editorial section of others. The reason supporters of this Law give for it is that it serves educational and awareness purposes. I would argue that pulling the Doonesbury cartoon removes the education and awareness from the women's perspective to a lot of America.

If you are reading this and can't find this week's Doonesbury in your paper you will probably be able to find it online at their website. But as a counter to those who want to censor freedom of speech I'll be displaying this week's strips.

© 2012 Garry Trudeau , Universal Press Syndicate

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for showing the Doonsbury!
    (And it is the First Amendment by the way)