Cartoons Take on Supreme Court Dobbs Abortion Ruling

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Liza Donnelly was a high school student in Washington, D.C., in 1973, the nearby Supreme Court adopted the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion – or, as Donnelly puts it, “when women finally gained autonomy over their bodies”.

The future political artist and writer understood the meaning. “The decision was part of the cultural fabric that I would soon enter as an adult; I felt free to live my life as I wanted. Now, however, the New York-based designer is reacting strongly because “a lot of women won’t have that freedom.”

Donnelly, who contributes to New Yorker cartoons, absorbed how a Supreme Court ruling Friday on Mississippi’s restrictive abortion law, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationled to the annulment of the court Roe vs. Wadeleaving states free to ban abortion.

“I felt sick,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of cartoons about women’s rights. This time, I felt a strong urge to express my outrage, fear, and sadness.

As she decided how to put those feelings into art, Donnelly considered she could confuse anti-abortion activists or conservative judges or Donald Trump supporters – or could draw women “screaming at the top of their lungs to demand freedom”. Instead, she chose to render what was at the forefront of her mind: “fear for our democracy”. She drew an offbeat Lady Liberty.

“Like me, I imagined she felt punched in the stomach, off balance, in pain, insulted and discouraged,” she says. “However, like many other women, Lady Liberty will once again uphold the principles on which our country was founded.”

Donnelly was among many artists who posted their powerful reactions over the weekend – some of whom also took to iconic American symbols.

“I was doing my best to channel the anger into action, reflecting on how this decision affects the health, rights and well-being of so many,” says Fairfax-based artist and author Juana Medina. , Virginia.

In her image, “Lady Justice weeps, the balance is unstable. She takes care of babies and children of various ages, including a pregnant child,” says Medina. “I realized I couldn’t finish the drawing and left it like pencil marks – uncertain, like our future.”

Pia Guerra drew two cartoons: in one, a Republican elephant pops champagne in celebration while hovering over the motionless body of a bloodied woman; in another, death as a horseman of the apocalyptic grasps a scythe topped with a coat hanger – that symbol of unsafe abortions that visual artists use as shorthand for reproductive rights in jeopardy.

Watching the news, Guerra saw “conservatives actually celebrating this decision” with “not even a bit of solemnity — just laughing in women’s faces. They don’t give a damn about who needs this health care, let it there are women at present being diverted out of state for life-saving treatment because hospitals don’t want to risk being sued.

“This level of insensitivity only means that it is not about ‘protecting the unborn child’ in any way,” adds the artist from Vancouver, British Columbia, “but about punishing women who dare to claim autonomy. It’s disgusting.”

Ann Telnaes, cartoonist and political host for the Washington Post, drew a decapitated woman whose body is marked “state property”.

“Creating the cartoon was a direct expression of my anger and belief that due to the religious agenda of the majority on the Supreme Court, American women are now officially second-class citizens and their bodies are controlled. by the state,” Telnaes said. “This country is a democracy, not a theocracy.”

In contrast, Lisa Benson returned a religious theme that supported the decision.

“The Supreme Court is right on this one. There is no constitutional right to abortion,” says the California-based unionized cartoonist. “Now it will be up to the states to decide whether abortion will remain legal and available. Some will applaud the decision, others will be outraged, but I’m pretty sure God is smiling right now.

Meanwhile, political cartoonist Jen Sorensen took to social media to post her 2019 cartoon which proved to be accurately predictive. His six-panel strip, titled “End of the Roe”, depicts stages of perpetual minimization of signs that Roe v. Wade would soon be knocked down.

“What inspired the cartoon was a sense of deep frustration at seeing reproductive rights being whittled away year after year when many seemed to look the other way,” says Sorensen, noting that she had been “deeply alarmed by the future of the Supreme Court for some time.”

“Like most people, I knew this decision was coming, so I wasn’t surprised when it was announced,” she says. “But a few hours later, its full weight suddenly hit me. Witnessing this extremism is deeply disturbing.

Here’s a sample of how some other political cartoonists reacted to the news:

“I noticed on social media that people were saying he offered women to go to other states. I wondered what an app or service might be called when the word Ub-Her me came to mind. After that, it was just a matter of finding the image. —Tim Campbell

“I wanted to capture how quickly things can get worse when women’s rights have been fundamentally overturned. … Wealthy women will be able to have an abortion whenever they want. It unfairly targets the poor and women of color – already underserved [populations].” —Lalo Alcaraz

“The radical Republican majority on the Supreme Court is illegitimate. He was nominated by two presidents who lost the popular vote. … The three Trump judges misled the Senate about their intentions toward Roe. … They are vandals of the Federal Society, planted in the field to revoke the unenumerated rights that the courts recognized in the 20th century. If Judge Thomas’ words foreshadow, they will come for marriage equality, birth control and more. The actions and intentions of this ill-gotten majority are obscene. —Darrin Bell

“Taking the group photo from Roberts Court last October and replacing the court dresses of the three women in the court with the uniforms worn by the oppressed women of Gilead seemed fitting. … There was something about the stark, somber image I used that seemed to truly reflect my feelings about the turn our country had just taken. — Clay Bennett

“I was toying with ideas and created the ‘Equal Justice Under His Eye’ line. I thought it was a strong message about the slow merging of church and state that is at the heart of the decision. … I’m afraid that with this tribunal we are running out of frightening analogies.” —Mike Thompson

“Things are dark. I wanted to make a cartoon that was hopeful and showed the way forward. —Mike Luckovich


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