Nauseating Napoli

Shame on you, South Dakota. Watch this clip of SD’s abortion politics; on the one hand, you have to respect people who have been providing abortion services to the state for years, like Dr Miriam McCreary (now criminalized), and the few representatives, like Elaine Roberts, who have opposed the law, but you also have to see that sexist asshat, Bill Napoli, ramble on about how he might make exceptions for religious virgins who had been brutally raped.

He’s probably going to get reelected, when in a just world he ought to be embarrassed to be seen in public without a bag over his head.

I hadn’t heard this part of Napoli’s argument before, either: he justifies the law banning abortions by appealing to fuzzy sentimentality about the way America used to be.

If a young man got a girl pregnant out of wedlock, they got married.

How biblical of Mr Napoli. Rape a girl, and if she gets pregnant, the whole community turns out to punish her some more by making her marry her rapist. Face it, this really is about treating women as chattel.


  1. Jeffrey Boser says

    I am pro-choice, but you’re not winning arguments with me by using rape as your primary example. I’m sure most girls who get pregnant out of wedlock are not being raped.

    If anything, Mr Napoli’s idea is flawed because of no-fault divorce. There is no ‘lock’ to the state of wedlock anymore, so all his idea produces is more unwed mothers.

  2. says

    I don’t consider rape my primary reason for supporting choice at all — but rape is the only excuse Napoli considers. Watch the video to see what I mean.

  3. Grumpy says

    Don’t forget: if a virgin is raped in the country, then only the rapist is put to death. But if a virgin is raped in the city, then she must be executed too, because it was her fault for not screaming louder.

    Deuteronomy 22:22-25

  4. mathpants says

    well then, the Deuteronomy quote paints SD in a decent light: not too many cities there. Can your hysteria; I find no reason to oppose a bipartisan effort to impose biblical law on the women of South Dakota.

    See? This is the ground we’re meant to give so that . . . what exactly?

    This gonna get real bad.

  5. says

    Remind me again what the difference is between Bible-law and Sharia-law…?

    No, I remember — only one is practised by “evil-doers”. Silly me.

  6. Carlie says

    is a bit of satire based on that particular interview – in the interest of appropriately citing my sources, it came from a comment on this same topic at bitchphd.

  7. says

    S.D., now a religious state where religious law rules. Are there no human beings in S.D. of backbone and brain? My religious daddy could not keep his hands off me. I was subsequently labeled (and silenced) nuts and further abused in the Oregon state psyche system. This is quite common. I left the psyche system after being nearly beaten to death on a psyche ward by staff, in a hospital owned and operated by the same religion I’d grown up within. Do I run from religion now? I do. Religion is dangerous. Very very dangerous.

  8. says

    The one thing I always found interesting about anti-reproductive-freedom people is the position that abortion is acceptable if a women is raped or it is incest. That makes absoltely no sense under pro-life rhetoric. Doesn’t a child of rape or incest have the same “right to life” as a child of teenagers taught abstinence only sex ed? I was glad the activists in SD are at least consistent in their anti abortion. It actually makes opposing the law easier.

    Any anti-abortion bill no matter what its exceptions hurts women’s health by discouraging doctors to learn the procedure and be prepared to use it in an emergency.

    If SD really cared about decreasing abortions, they’d spend their time preventing unplanned pregancies not grandstanding for the press.

  9. BT from VT says

    So, do the supporters of this misguided, draconian legislation imagine their God will now reward the people of South Dakota? Maybe no more severe weather or drought? Call me cynical, but I’ve noticed that he hasn’t even been able to make churches fire or hurricane-proof.

  10. steve says

    But Reed, contraception would allow the whores to whore around without consequences! They must be punished!

  11. Molly, NYC says

    That makes absoltely no sense under pro-life rhetoric.

    Hell, these people mostly voted for Bush/Cheney. How can you reconcile that with the belief that life is precious or sacred?

  12. Graculus says

    Silly people, it’s not about life, it’s always been about controling women’s sexuality.

    Now the mask is off.

  13. says

    I am shocked. Shocked, and saddened. I’m not sure what else I can say, except that such reports make me concerned for the future of civil society in the USA. Should I be glad I don’t live there, or be angry that as a foreigner I can’t get involved and oppose these religious nutters?

    (Oh, and keep up the good work generally, PZ!)

  14. G. Tingey says

    South Dakota the state to first declare itself part of the Republic of Gilead?

    I want to know how they got away wit it, since, apparently, every poll taken shows a majority of the whole population )not just women) in favour of a woman’s right to choose what she does with the insides of her own body – will someone please explain?

  15. tacitus says

    Some female pundit on the local Catholic radio says that there is a 71 page “balance” report written by a taskforce set up by the South Dakota legislature to investigate the abortion issue.

    I just found a link to it — here is the conclusion of the report:

    The State of South Dakota has an interest and a duty to protect every citizen’s intrinsic
    rights, most importantly the right to life. This duty includes protecting an unborn child’s intrinsic
    right to life and the mother’s natural intrinsic right to a relationship with her child, along with the
    protection of the mother’s health.
    The Task Force concludes that to fully protect the rights, interests, and health of the
    mother and the life of her unborn child, a ban on abortions is required. We recommend that
    the Legislature examine the method and timing of such a ban.

    Just glancing through it, there is nothing “balanced” about the report. It is simply documents all the usual anti-abortion stances–e.g. rape should not be compounded by a “second violent act” (i.e. an abortion); women suffer in oh so many ways after an abortion, etc.

    They have even tacked on more than a dozen other suggestions for laws to make abortion all but impossible in South Dakota should the Supreme Court overrule the main law–and that includes requiring the abortion doctor to be on the staff of a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic (i.e. no more visiting practitioners) and a ban on contraceptive-based sex education (yeah, right, that’s going to reduce unwanted pregnancies).

  16. Judy L., Toronto says

    My parents left the U.S. for Canada in 1970 after the Kent State massacre. I have a feeling that we may be welcoming an increasing number of you (Americans) in the ensuing years, unless you’re able to stop this rampage of fundamentalist right-wing theocrats. For the good of us all, please do try your best to preserve the integrity of your rather lovely constitution, and protect the rights of your citizenry. Though perhaps the safer thing to do would be to FLEE while the fleeing is good. Heck, maybe we Canadians can change our immigration laws to allow American scientists, homosexuals, and women of child-bearing age to claim refugee status as persecuted groups in their home country.

  17. Maronan says

    I agree with one of Napoli’s (paraphrased, perhaps mined and distorted) statements. It’s quite true that we’ve never gone so far beyond the Dark Ages that we can’t go back.

  18. Maronan says

    I agree with one of Napoli’s (paraphrased, perhaps mined and distorted) statements. It’s quite true that we’ve never gone so far beyond the Dark Ages that we can’t go back.

  19. says

    Fetus rights are so popular. Too bad human rights are not. Right to lifers are usually the gun toting saber rattling crowd. Guess right to life does not extend itself to like Iraqi women and children, some of those likely pregnant with fetuses. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” Hmmmm. I don’t see stipulations in them there words, you know like, Thou shalt not kill unless thou canst see thy victim, i.e. dropping bombs from 20,000 feet.

    Right wingers are concerned only with sexual matters. They’re obsessed with sexual behavior of every sort. Morality further out than sexuality is of no concern to them since they’re violating those moral rules and enjoying doing so. It’s also a political emotional diversionary tactic. George Bush is not religious, but he uses religion well and is setting up the next Presidential election for the conservatives on the basis of one issue–abortion. That way, they can slide by with all the other crap they want to pull in WA and with marginal candidates. It’s a diversionary tactic, to pull in overemotional one issue people to their side and it is working. Counter measures need to be immediate.

  20. Dustin says

    In the same vein, I’ve always noticed that the loudest voices in the anti-homosexual crowd are usually complaining, at length, about anal sex. They complain about it over and over and over again. It’s like they have either an anal fixation, or are actually closeted homosexuals themselves. That’s not an exclusive or.

  21. says


    I don’t think it’s easy to claim that the Napoli quote was mined or distorted; the PBS news report that PZ links to leave little room for manoeuvre. Not that Napoli sees any need to manoeuvre: he’d probably love a copy of the tape for his personal library…

  22. David Harmon says

    “The State of South Dakota has an interest and a duty to protect every citizen’s intrinsic rights, most importantly the right to life. This duty includes protecting an unborn child’s intrinsic right to life…”

    It seems to me that this quote (accidentally) highlights the real distinction they’re trying to obscure. Fundamentally, any rights provided by a government, are granted first to it’s citizens, those people who are recognized as full members of the nation.. The point of wars is that you’re fighting people outside your nation, which is why you can do things to them that you (nominally) can’t do to your own citizens. (If you granted all humanity the same rights as your own citizens, then your soldiers would simply be murderers.) The goal of America’s (near-)universal citizenship was to extend Consititutional rights to (eventually) every native-born person, plus those who have passed various requirements to be “adopted” as citizens. The question of slavery turned on whether Negroes (et al) were actually “people”, or some lesser creature. The idea of “human rights” declarations is to define a (weak) “nation of humanity”, which nominally grants some minimal rights to all “citizens of humanity”.

    And now, the State of South Dakota is attempting to extend citizenship to the unborn. One little problem here — those new “citizens” are categorically unable to speak for themselves. But hey, the fun thing about a representative republic, is that the power of government leaders is based on… how many citizens they represent. But of course, adult, vocal citizens, tend to want something in exchange for the power they provide their leaders. Here we have a huge pool of potential “citizens” who can’t make any demands at all.

  23. says

    But you’re talking about rights granted by a government. Christians talk about a more basic human morality, that would not be extended only to citizens of one nation, you would think, but to any human anywhere. Human rights to fair treatment, equal treatment, are granted by governments and dependent on where a person lives. But Christians supposedly do not grant dignity to life dependent on geography. Maybe you’re right and this is getting confused or forgotten on major scale by Christians themselves and used well by politicers.