I was a 16-year-old high school student when I took Driver’s Education. At the conclusion of the course, my classmates and I were required to watch a rather disturbing film.
It showed graphic, true-to-life images of teen-agers killed in car wrecks. I can still see the gnarled young bodies; the bloody corpses.
The purpose of the film was not to cause me and my classmates to lose our lunches. It was to show us, in as real a way possible, the fatal consequences of unsafe driving for all-too-many teen-aged motorists.
I do not know if Garry Trudeau, creator of the “Doonesbury” comic strip, ever took Driver’s Ed; ever saw the graphic film depicting the dead young drivers. If he did, he never devoted a strip to the subject.
But he has decided to weigh in on abortion in his strips scheduled to appear next week. More specifically, he skewers a Texas law requiring women to have an ultrasound before taking the lives of their unborn child. And he villifies pro-lifers who support the law.
The strips center on a character best described as Trudeau’s Everywoman. Jim Romenesko, who authors a blog about media, provided a preview.
In one, Everywoman arrives at a clinic for her pre-abortion ultrasound. She is told to take a seat in the “shaming room,” that a male lawmaker will be right with her.
In the following strip, the lawmaker asks Everywoman if it’s her first visit to the clinic. She says no, she’s been using the clinic’s contraceptive services for a while. “I see,” he responds, “Do your parents know you’re a slut?”
In another strip, Everywoman finally sees a doctor. He prepares to give her an “compulsory transvaginal exam,” to comply with the state law’s requirement that she be shown an image of her unborn child and hear her unborn’s heartbeat. “By the authority invested in me by the GOP base,” the doctor tells her, “I thee rape.”
Trudeau obviously thinks himself – and his strip – amusing. But a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry was right on when she said, “The decision to take a life is not funny.”
My high school considered the lives of its students so precious it required those of us who enrolled in Driver’s Ed to watch a film that aimed to shock us into safe driving.
The state of Texas is similarly concerned about the lives of the unborn.
It considers them so precious, it now requires expectant mothers to see and hear the humanity growing in their wombs; to fully understand that abortion takes a life just as surely as a fatal car wreck.