This Week’s Cartoon: “Conservative Counseling”

cartoon about conservative counselingContinuing with a long series of obnoxious happenings in matters repro, South Dakota has passed a law that pretty much forces women to seek “advice” from those faith-based  “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” that I blogged about a few weeks ago. These centers are, as you might expect, notoriously unscientific. Poor South Dakotans. This is the second time I’ve had to make fun of them for this sort of thing. In all fairness, I will say the Badlands are lovely, and I spent a fine evening in Rapid City a couple years ago.  South Dakota is also the home of the Corn Palace and a giant pink prairie dog (see below).

I debated whether or not to call this strip “Conservative Counseling”  because I have misgivings about the term “conservative.” It implies the opposite of radicalism,  yet a number of self-described “conservative” pundits have policy prescriptions that are, to put it gently, nothing short of dramatic. But in the end, the alliterative “c’s” had it.

[Afterthought: for a fascinating map of passport ownership that ties into the fourth panel of the cartoon, see this post by Krugman.]

Jen with giant prairie dog


  • Tom

    I’ve always wondered why the same people in favor of a three-day waiting period for an abortion (or 10-day, or 30-day, or 90-day) go ballistic if you suggest a three-day waiting period to buy a firearm. I mean, they’ll say “We need people control, not gun control,” but any suggested form of people control about people with guns is automatically off the table.

    (Spoiler: I was a youth NRA member way back when)

    Maybe nobody should be allowed to acept agricultural subsidies until they first watch either “King Corn” or Food, Incorporated.”

  • Tony

    I guess I’ll have to set my sites on moving to South Dakota to open the first Pastafarian Crisis Pregnancy Center. It could happen.

  • James

    Because people have narrow ideological blinders on.

    I think any action which could lead to the taking of a life (yeah, I said it, it’s a life…and if you’re going ballistic you prove the point of my above sentence) should have a waiting period. Just like 72-hours of reflection can make you reconsider putting two in your spouse’s head and two in your brother’s nether regions because you walked in on her going all Droolie Julie over his banana, three days time might give someone pause to reconsider an action that she may later consider a bit more involved than just “getting rid of a bunch of cells.”

    Now, just like I think you should still be able to buy the firearm, I think people should have access to safe (as possible), medically sound means of terminating a fetus. Do I believe that the father should have some say in this? You betcha, just like I think my wife should have a say in me bringing in a gun that could potentially lead to me killing a home invader in our living room. However, just like Domestic-6 doesn’t get a veto on the right to bear arms, a father should not get a veto.

  • Mr. Mayes


    The waiting period you think should be required assumes that the pregnant woman has not already thought this through. It also assumes that, even though the pregnant woman can lawfully make this decision, the government has the right to interfere.

    As far as the husband goes, when he is able to carry a baby then he can have a say. This is not for the government to decide, it’s a family matter. How you and your wife make decisions should have absolutely no bearing on how other married couples make decisions.

    Roe vs Wade is settled law. Until it changes, women have the right to make the decision on their own without government interference.

  • Jen Sorensen

    My understanding is that there is only one abortion clinic in SD, and doctors actually fly in from Minnesota to staff it. So a woman might have to travel a long distance to get there. Staying three extra days means added expense and time off work, which many people living paycheck-to-paycheck can’t afford. And the centers that offer “counseling” are faith-based rather than scientific, making this law a violation of separation of church and state.

  • James

    Whoa. Okay Jen, I did not realize that doctors had to fly in from out of state or the rest of the stuff about the clinic. Now _that_ is some bullsh*t, and it totally changes the situation. As to the counseling–does it specifically say where you have to go for it? I can’t find a news article that actually states the law saying you can only go to Centers X, Y, and Z. If so, or yes, if the only centers available are faith based, then this needs to have the Federal government landing on it with both feet and a roundhouse swing. I’m all about federalism, but that whole 1st Amendment thing works both freakin’ ways.

    Mr. Mayes–somehow I doubt that you will be so sanguine about “settled law” if/when Roe v. Wade gets overturned, so don’t you think it’s a tad bit hypocritical to use that as plank of your argument? I mean, if there was a 5-4 decision tomorrow to allow the rule of thumb to come back into practice, I’d like to think that people wouldn’t be running around going “Well shut your pie hole, it’s settled law.” Funny, I only thought right wing nutjobs did that (insert Bible in place of Roe v. Wade in that case).

    Women, especially in marriage, make a choice to engage in the activity that creates a baby. No matter how many layers of protection one partakes, if the decision is made to put Tab A into Slot B (or for that matter, even have Tab A in the general vicinity of Slot B), then both parties have made a choice to have the other one involved in their lives. Just like I have _zero_ sympathy for a man who finds out that he decided to shag someone who is very good with lawyers in a state that feels he should be paying four figures every month to raise a baby, I think the “when men can carry babies” argument is similarly week. If you’re above the age of 10, you know women carry babies. When women find a way to make a baby without a man, then I’m willing to entertain men should get no say in the matter.

    Note I did not say veto, I said “say.” Yes, figuring out how a man has a say, whether there are damages involved when the kid gets whacked anyway, etc., etc. would be difficult. But pardon me if I find it a bit, shall we say, “odd” that a woman can decide to have a baby with a man then stick him with 18 years of child support because he decided to have a one night stand, yet somehow a man is expected to just shut the *bleep* up when we’re talking about the termination of his offspring based on the same biological equation. You can rail all you want about women’s rights in your sermonal, sanctimonious tone–but that’s pretty d*mn clear hypocrisy right there. (And no, “Well that’s the way it’s always been…” is no more an excuse for that than it is when we’re talking about stoning women for adultery in Islamic countries.)

  • James

    Aargh, that’s “weak” not week. Sign I need to have a first cup of coffee before blog commenting.

  • Mr. Mayes

    @James – I think laws should be obeyed, whether I agree with them or not. So my Roe v Wade comment is not hypocritical. My point is that the law gave women rights, so those rights should not be interfered with. If Roe v Wade is overturned, then so be it. Elections have consequences and the makeup of the Supreme Court is one of them.

    As far as who decides what, the bottom line is that the woman has to carry the baby. If a man does not want to pay child support, he should think with the head on his shoulders and “wrap it up”. Once he has made his, ahem, donation, it is out of his hands. If he does not like the decisions that the woman is making then he should find another woman who would be willing to bear the burden and risk of carrying his child.

    Not sure where you are going with all that other stuff (Islam, child support, etc.) but it doesn’t matter. I’m not being sanctimonious…just practical. What goes on inside a woman’s body (be it my wife or someone else) is NOT my business.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.