Newspapers around the country were forced to make a decision Friday about this week’s series of “Doonesbury” cartoon strips, which lampoon a Texas law requiring women to have an ultrasound exam before receiving an abortion.
We decided that the series would not be published in the Santa Maria Times. Instead, we’re publishing an alternate set of “re-runs” offered by the syndicate that distributes “Doonesbury.”
We didn’t make the choice lightly. Any decision to censor or silence an opinion on a topic of legitimate public discourse is troublesome, or at least it should be.
We firmly believe in this nation’s First Amendment and its protections of free expression, even though political satire frequently pushes the boundaries — that’s its purpose, after all — and “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau pushes them as far as anyone.
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That’s why we made the decision long ago to publish the politically liberal “Doonesbury” and the politically conservative “Mallard Fillmore” strips on the editorial page rather than on the comics page.
However, we also believe in maintaining standards of civility and taste in a family newspaper, and while we felt that the majority of this week’s cartoons fell within the admittedly broad bounds of satire, not all of them did.
Those who want to see the cartoons we aren’t publishing can find them at www.doonesbury.com.