‘Doonesbury’ Series Dealing With Abortion to Be Canceled

United Press International

“Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau agreed not to send newspapers six comic strips involving the anti-abortion movie “Silent Scream” because of their controversial nature, a spokesman for the strip’s distributors said Friday.

Trudeau and Universal Press Syndicate officials decided that “it would not serve in the best interests of the feature to run it,” said Lee Salem, editorial director at Universal Press Syndicate in Mission, Kan.

“It was us exercising our editorial process here,” Salem said.

Magazine to Print Series

The strip had been scheduled to be published in June 3 newspapers but was not released to any publications except the political journal New Republic, which will print the entire series in its June 10 issue.


Trudeau and Universal Press decided that the New Republic was a “more suitable format than a daily newspaper,” Salem said.

“Doonesbury” has 800 subscribers.

In the series, a fetus is aborted within 12 minutes of conception in what Salem said was an attempt to point out “certain fallacies about the line of reasoning within the movie ‘Silent Scream.’ ”

Trudeau’s cartoons include a 12-minute-old fetus named Timmy and refer to the pregnant woman as “the murderess.”

‘Exceptional Controversy’

The strip was not released because of “the exceptional controversy of the subject itself,” Salem said. “It was decided that too many newspapers would not run the sequence.”

“Silent Scream” was funded by anti-abortion groups and backed by Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell.

In the movie, an abortion is performed on a 15-week-old fetus. Doctors in the film allege that the fetus seems to scream silently as it recoils from the procedure. Since the movie’s release, some physicians have questioned such reasoning.


“The issue is, how far back can you go in the stage of the life of a fetus, and Garry takes it to its logical extreme,” Salem said.