a bird and a bottle

Censorship and Comics
March 21, 2007, 8:24 am
Filed under: civil rights, funnies, media, news, reproductive justice

I love me some Mikhaela Reid. Her comics are funny, political, progressive, and pro-woman. They’re in your face. And it’s great.

Which is why I wasn’t all that surprised to read in today’s Women’s eNews column, that they’ve sometimes been censored.

Take this comic, for example, called “Every Sperm is Sacred” (a la Monty Python) :


The image, as described by Women’s eNews, is about a “dystopian America of 2020,” in which “the Supreme Court has upheld a “Spermy Protection Act,” a show of power by the “sex-cell rights movement.” It’s meant to convey Reid’s anxiety about the crusade to not only cut back on abortion rights but also to limit contraception. And it was rejected by one of her usual clients, a “progressive” upstate New York newspaper, saying that it too closely resembled the recent killing of Imette St. Guillen, whose body was found with her hands tied.

Of course, this is not the first time that comics about abortion have been targets for censorship. As the Women’s eNews column points out, Doonsbury’s abortion strips, which “show[ed] scenes from “Silent Scream II: The Prequel,” briefly starring Timmy, a 12-minute-old embryo, and his mother whom Trudeau’s filmmaker-narrator refers to as ‘the murderess herself,'” have met a similar fate.

What’s angering about this trend is that it’s not the only time that the First Amendment has been limited at the behest (or to the benefit) of anti-abortion rights forces. The Supreme Court held in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan that Congress could limit what doctors receiving public funding were allowed to say to patients about abortion without violating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

Think Supreme Court doctrine doesn’t shape people’s attitudes? Think again.


4 Comments so far
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Couldn’t help but notice the names of Kenneth Starr and John Roberts among the list of authors in the gov’s case. Are these the ghosts of Trouble Past and Trouble Future? Make them count those sperms. Every single last one of them. Count to the very last flagellum. And then make them count one more time to make sure the recount is accurate (oops, I forgot, the SCOTUS does not allow recounts).

Comment by Swampcracker

Yep – John Roberts wrote the brief supporting the speech restrictions in Rust. And now he is the chief justice. Doesn’t that make your skin crawl?

Comment by bean

Problem is: My skin has been crawling so long, it disappeared behind the cupboard and I can’t find it anymore.

Comment by Swampcracker

Little known fact: During the recount of election year 2000, Roberts was one of the attorneys sent by his party to Tallahassee FL to argue for the Bush campaign. None of this, of course, was brought up during his confirmation hearing. Although off topic, here is another little known fact: The Gore campaign was ill-prepared for post-election litigation; they sent no-one.

In any case, we have not yet seen the ultra-conservative and partisan side of Roberts yet. The worst is yet to come.

During the 1990s, I lived and worked in France and still hold a permanent “Carte de Sejour” [green card]. At least I still have an escape hatch.

Comment by Swampcracker

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