Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Suck it up, Bitch--Marry your rapist, raise your baby...

See the video of Bill Napoli describing what sort of raped woman might...might...be entitled to an abortion.

Edited to add another source for the video--thanks, TillyLost.

Digby covers the story pretty well.

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.
But, you know, tough shit if you happen to be a woman who is only raped, but not sodomized (and WTF is that about, Napoli? Get a stiffy just thinking about it?)

Or, you know, if you're not a virgin. 'Cause if you wanted it once, it's obvious you want more.

Or, you know, if you're not religious and saving yourself for some nice rapist boy, to come along and knock you up and make a real woman of you, so you can get married whether you like it or not, like when Senator Napoli was a young man, growing up in the Wild West.

There's a deeply disturbing post about how this South Dakota law is not just about abortion, but also about rape, and about women's control over their own bodies at a very fundamental level, by Liza at BlogSheroes:

Digby covers all the major outrage points on the subject of how Napoli is basically signing onto the idea that forced childbirth is the proper punishment for being female and having a sexuality all at once, which is an argument that strikes me as no different in any substantial way than then argument that getting drunk or being 16 or whatever is reason enough to deserve to be raped and spat on. So I won’t bother with it, but I will say that what struck me about Napoli’s statement here is that he had to squeeze in “sodomized”, an act that actually can’t get you pregnant. I found it interesting that Napoli requires the sodomy before he’ll deem the Christian girl raped so badly that even he can’t imagine her deserving to be punished further for whatever the hell it is that women need to be punished for.


It takes a strong stomach, I promise you, to get all the way through the entry--it's primarily about a deeply depressing aquittal in an Illinois rape trial. That's why we all need to read it. And think about it. And talk about it.

From the linked article:
Reporters and other courtroom observers were not allowed to see the tape. Lawyers' descriptions indicate that it shows Missbrenner and codefendant Burim Bezeri having sex with the teen during the party in Missbrenner's home in the upscale suburb. The tape also shows the men and others spitting on the woman and writing on her naked body.

Defense attorney Patrick Campanelli relentlessly dissected the tape Friday, however, contending the accuser's actions indicated that she had not been coerced.
[emphasis added by me]
If this had happen to her in the great state of South Dakota, this kid would be unable to legally abort a pregnancy resulting from being gang-raped while she was drunk at a party. Yep, that's right--she would be required by South Dakota law to carry to term and raise the child of one of this gang of young men who raped her, spit on her, and scrawled obscenities on her naked body...then left her unconcious, missing her pants.

That's yer family values in action, there, eh?

A friend of mine observed earlier this week that I sounded angry, discussing this legislation and the issue of whether a woman is entitled to make her own decisions about whether or not to carry a child. That's a fair observation. Yep. I am angry. I'm furious, in fact, that there should even be any question of whether this topic belongs in the arena of public discussion.


This is why the pro-choice among us cannot afford to get tired and stop yelling about it.

30 comments:

December Quinn said...

I liked Florence King's solution to this problem-two weeks after your rape, pregnant or not, you get a D&C (unless you are morally opposed.)

That way you don't have to make the decision, and you never know.

Just like there's always one man in a firing line with blanks in his gun, when one is allowed to be innocent, none are guilty.

AstonWest said...

Is there anything (aside from finances) to stop someone from SD from crossing state lines to have an abortion?

Just curious...

weasel said...

Immaterial as to whether they can cross state lines, the question should be why the hell should they? An abortion is not a frigging powerball ticket or tax free liquor; its a harrowing medical procedure usually undertaken after much psychological anguish on the part of the woman. And once again, we have a bunch of mostly men voting on women's health issues. As a man I wouldn't care for female legislators suddenly deciding that as the potential for rape exists in all men we should all be chemically castrated to be on the safe side, so I don't know why we should think it OK for blokes to make policy on the fundamentals of women's health.

I wish someone on this pro-forced pregnancy wing (they aren't pro-life as many see no problem in the death penalty) would show me where this army of blase women who shrug off their abortions as if they were headaches hangs out. Or do we still lack the imagination to get inside their twisted American Taliban imaginations?

A little angry and incoherent this morning. I'm so sorry that the need exisits for you to have to write so eloquently on this subject despite it being the 21st century.

weasel said...

I meant to say "lack the technology to see inside their imaginations" (last sentence, 3rd para). See? Angry and incoherent this morning.

doc-t said...

Okay, I have experience with this kind of stupidity and I know how to deal with it...

First, do NOT expect it to make sense. it won't.

Second, do NOT expect the ignorant prick to have a brain. it makes the situation more beleivable.


There's quite simply nothing you can say to a 'person' like that, that would make them wake up and smell the coffee...

would you mind if i called him an ignorant prick one more time?

Jean Marie said...

Mac, I'll never shut up about it! Never. In the case of rape or incest, health of the mom, never. Ever.

Fuck Napoli.

Frank Baron said...

The guy's a maroon. A repressed, dogmatic, sadistic maroon. A maroon with some power, so we I guess we can add "dangerous" too.

I hope your Supreme Court punts it into never-never land and that all South Dakota women vote with their feet and move out of state - leaving Napoli and his ilk to play in an all-boys sandbox.

TillyLost said...

I had problems making the video work, but the same footage is available here:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan-june06/abortion_3-03.html#

TillyLost said...

Um, the link I posted doesn't work. Unless you copy and paste it. Then it works.

doc-t said...

I think Frank BArron went a bit too far and i'm sorry but i HAVE to bitch...

Calling the man a maroon is a completely uncalled for insult to all of us maroons in the world. He isn't high enough on the evolutionary ladder to be in our species and i think you owe us an apollogy!

:)

Frank Baron said...

Sorry doc. It takes a lot to tick off a Canadian but when it happens, well, sometimes our language goes all to heck.

Dagnab it.

Jean Marie said...

I dunno, do, you called Napoli an ignorant prick? Frank called him a maroon. I said fuck him. What's the differenc? Am I missing something here?

Napoli's a jackass.

Any woman who's been subjected to the horrors of rape should be given the morning after pill, no questions asked. I wonder how Napoli would feel if it were his daughter.

TillyLost said...

I've been trying to think of something calm and rational to say about Bill Napoli's comments. Or the judge in the rape trial.
I can't. Maybe when I've finally calmed down I'll be able to make some kind of articulate comment. That both of these people have power is heartbreaking.

I've also been looking at the proposed legislation in different states. If Roe was overturned, and these were enforceable, would a state be able to legislate against women crossing state lines (those who can) to get an abortion?
The proposed Ohio bill (which is very, very long) seems to be an attempt to prevent women leaving the state to get an abortion (the bits in square brackets are crossed out in the bill):

"Sec. 2919.12. (A) No person shall [perform] do any of the following:
(1) Perform or induce an abortion [without the informed consent of the pregnant woman;]
(2) Transport another, or cause another to be transported, across the boundary of this state or of any county in this state in order to facilitate the other person having an abortion."

I wonder what will happen to the women of Ohio when their legislature notices they can drive?
Here is the bill.

Also, a question. Would the overturning of Roe also threaten other Supreme Court rulings based on a constitutional right to privacy? Like married couples having contraception? And unmarried couples having contraception?

Ol' Fashioned Girl said...

I have another solution to the problem - unfortunately, it probably won't work. In fact, it's a fairy tale... All the women in South Dakota (maybe in the whole of the USofA) would have to refuse sex to their significant others. Prostitutes would have to close shop (ahem). And ALL women would have to pack enough heat to defend themselves against the assholes who have to take their anger out on the 'weaker' sex. Until my body was my own, and my sisters' bodies were their own, not one swingin' dick would get any kind of pleasure that didn't originate at the end of his own arm.

'Lysistrata' anyone?

Yeah. I know. There's too many female American Taliban for it to work... and too many who think, for whatever reason, that this has nothing to do with them, so why should they care?

But it does have to do with them, with you, with me, with all of us - and we can't ever give in.

Mac said...

You guys are all terrific. I'm bummed and depressed by this.

TillyLost, these people are already on record as being anti-birth control. Not just for unmarried couples, by the way, but in general, the lunatic fringe of the far right doesn't believe in women having access to contraception.

What's depressing about this is that I've a reader, Bellacora, that I like quite a lot. She's not a lunatic, even though she generally opposes abortion.

I'd love to stand shoulder to shoulder with women like Cora, to educate and help provide safe and effective contraception, and make alternatives to abortion both practical and economically feasible, for the women who'd like to choose otherwise.

As long as this issue remains so incendiary and polarizing, though, the moderates on both sides are condemned to stare at one another over a high metaphorical fence, wishing things were otherwise.

Dawno said...

I fear that the pendulum hasn't finished swinging yet but when it finally hits the far end of the arc on this issue, I can only hope that there are women as brave as the ones who got us the vote and refused to take the seats in the back and protested in the 60's still out there. And that I'll be strong enough to stand beside them when the time comes.

I'm one of those moderates, Mac, but I won't hesitate to stand in the line on the far left for this fight if that's what it takes.

Jean Marie said...

See, there's enough of us "moderates" who are not pleased w/ this, Mac. And I firmly believe there's more than enough to sway the court, should that become necessary.

The atty. gen in my state, CT, is making sure all hospitals, including Catholic make use of the morning after pill in cases of rape. Score one!

TillyLost said...

It would be wonderful if a genuine consensus on reducing the abortion rate could be created in America.
The lowest abortion rates in the world are in Western Europe. Not my country, we have a lower rate than the US, but the Netherlands and Belgium are far lower. Abortion rates of a quarter of what you have are acheivable. You could get the rate even lower, and then we can learn from you.

But the way we do it is through family planning policies. Not just legal contraception, but accessible contraception and education.

emeraldcite said...

It'll be quite like prohibition: the far right will get just what it wants and when it does, it'll realize that it didn't really want it after all.

It's when people finally lose the right to something before they figure out they miss it.

We'll lose all our rights long before we say, "shit, i really needed those..."

DD said...

Ok, question. What can people do about it besides vent their anger in a blog?

Next if it was Napoli's daughter he would undoubtedly think she had done something to deserve it.

last i do not believe a woman should have to be raped, or tell the doctor she was raped to get an abortion.
They are terrifying and heartwrenching enopugh without telling a total stranger about an unspeakable event that got you pregnant.

Ms M said...

This Napoli guy is clearly someone with a lot of hate for women. I do find it very sad and disturbing what is happening in the United States in relation to legal access to abortion services. The anti-choice lobby are getting more and more powerful in Australia too and only recently this issue came up in Parliament over the issue of shifting responsibility for approving RU486 from the Minister of Health to the TGA (a medical administration body that has the powers to approve all other drugs).

From the debate that ensued it became clear that every opportunity will be exploited by this lobby group to try to reduce the choices that Australian women currently have if they are faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Their ultimate goal is to make abortion illegal.

I do understand the feeling of outrage associated with the rhetoric of a man like Napoli, however I also feel uncomfortable with the debate being focused on whether a woman who has been raped should have access to termination services. Accepting the terms of this argument means that the argument for access to abortion services becomes very limited with an implicit acceptance of the view that abortions are wrong except under certain circumstances. The debate then becomes a shit fight over what these certain circumstances might be.

My opinion is that the debate needs to be broadened much further to an issue of demonstrating and advocating continuously that access to abortion services is not an issue of morality but one of personal and social benefit and that the decision making process is best determined by the woman in consultation with health professionals. The discourse of rights is relied on too much for this issue in my opinion and the fact that anti-choice groups have developed a language to argue right against right has led to a weakening of the position of those pro-choice.

I also think this issue highlights significant tensions between the powers of States and Nation. It is my opinion that the issue of abortion can only be maintained at a national level. Having inconsistencies between States on an issue such as this leads to an uneven distribution of rights and access to services across a single territory and this division can only be maintained through strict policing of State borders, which to be effective, involves the oppression of individuals and groups who dispute the validity of the State to have these powers.

AstonWest said...

"The atty. gen in my state, CT, is making sure all hospitals, including Catholic make use of the morning after pill in cases of rape. Score one!"

In other words, it's okay to overrule a person's (or in this case, an institution's) decision-making ability on the matter...

I just find the irony amusing...

AstonWest said...

The previous post (by ms m) reminds me of an advertisement for a new contraceptive, RU469...

On that note...evenin'

Ms M said...

This Napoli guy is clearly someone with a lot of hate for women. I do find it very sad and disturbing what is happening in the United States in relation to legal access to abortion services. The anti-choice lobby are getting more and more powerful in Australia too and only recently this issue came up in Parliament over the issue of shifting responsibility for approving RU486 from the Minister of Health to the TGA (a medical administration body that has the powers to approve all other drugs).

From the debate that ensued it became clear that every opportunity will be exploited by this lobby group to try to reduce the choices that Australian women currently have if they are faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Their ultimate goal is to make abortion illegal.

I do understand the feeling of outrage associated with the rhetoric of a man like Napoli, however I also feel uncomfortable with the debate being focused on whether a woman who has been raped should have access to termination services. Accepting the terms of this argument means that the argument for access to abortion services becomes very limited with an implicit acceptance of the view that abortions are wrong except under certain circumstances. The debate then becomes a shit fight over what these certain circumstances might be.

My opinion is that the debate needs to be broadened much further to an issue of demonstrating and advocating continuously that access to abortion services is not an issue of morality but one of personal and social benefit and that the decision making process is best determined by the woman in consultation with health professionals. The discourse of rights is relied on too much for this issue in my opinion and the fact that anti-choice groups have developed a language to argue right against right has led to a weakening of the position of those pro-choice.

I also think this issue highlights significant tensions between the powers of States and Nation. It is my opinion that the issue of abortion can only be maintained at a national level. Having inconsistencies between States on an issue such as this leads to an uneven distribution of rights and access to services across a single territory and this division can only be maintained through strict policing of State borders, which to be effective, involves the oppression of individuals and groups who dispute the validity of the State to have these powers.

Ms M said...

I'm not sure why my post came out twice. Blogger was playing up a bit though. Anyway, I swear I wasn't trying to hammer my point home...:-)

Mac said...

Ah--it's a good post, though, and bears repeating. *grin*

Nice to see you, MsM. I think you're dead right about the way the dispute has been framed as a discussion of "rights" and pushed to the margin of who "deserves" access to abortions, btw.

emeraldcite said...

I certainly find it disturbing that pro-life advocates are being forced to get abortions and use contraceptives against their will.

It's unfair and unjust to make them subscribe to services that they do not believe should occur.

Hopefully our representatives will end this horrible practice of forced abortions and contraceptives for everyone so that no one is ever forced into a situation like this again.

I, for one, call for an end to this heinous practice of forced participation.

AstonWest said...

"Having inconsistencies between States on an issue such as this leads to an uneven distribution of rights and access to services across a single territory..."

Ah, but the US has had constant battles in its entire history about the powers of the Federal government versus the powers of the State.

Inconsistencies between the laws of the States happen frequently in all areas.

Ms M said...

The fact of having inconsistencies is not necessarily a problem, but inconsistencies across all areas certainly would be. My understanding is that there is not inconsistencies across ALL areas, otherwise there would not be much United about the States so to speak. The question is what is important (and feasible) to have handled at a national level and what at a state level. I'm curious (not having a deep knowledge of U.S. governance) what are some of the issues that are managed at a national level that override the state? Marriage? Death? Electoral rights?

Mac said...

It's rather complex in that many of those issues are managed at both levels. When the State and Federal management comes into conflict--like over the use of medical marijuana, or Oregon's physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill--then you have situations where the different factions may in fact sue each other. Or else private citizens have some of the same avenues to address their grievances.

That's why everyone is holding their breath over the two new Supreme Court justices, Roberts and Alito.

They both shape up like hyper-conservatives. The SoDak legistlation is pretty much designed as a test-balloon. It's almost certain to be thrown out by the mid-level federal courts, but then they can appeal up the chain until The Supreme Court hands down a final decision.

The newly weighted conservative Supreme Court.