Bill Napoli responds to the controversy about his comments on Abortion
It's probably an understatement that Bill Napoli has takes some crap for his comments about abortion. In state, out of state. He even made Cruel Site of the day at cruel.com for Monday March 13. Bill thinks a clarification is in order, so by gosh, the SDWC is as good a soapbox as any to respond to the criticism. Without further ado:
Some friends have urged me not to write this article. They claim it could be political suicide.
I realize my comments will be dissected and distorted once again by those on the other side. But, I feel it is necessary and important to tell you about my 45 minute interview with the Lehrer NewsHour. I went into this interview knowing that the outcome might be brutal, yet I did not feel I should be afraid to discuss these issues.
My comments about “simple rape” outraged people who told us in no uncertain terms, “There is no simple rape; all rapes are vicious and horrible”.
With all due respect, South Dakota has a clear definition difference between non-violent consensual sexual contact (Statutory Rape) and violent rape.
Statutory Rape (SDCL 22-22-7) is consensual sex between an 18-year-old with a girlfriend or boyfriend of 16, and is commonly referred to as statutory rape. My words “simple rape” is an example of this non-violent rape. Statutory rape is prosecutable by state law; it is not a violent rape. Definitions vary from state to state. Louisiana, for example, does have a definition for “Simple Rape.”
Yes, Forcible Rape is a horrible act of violence, one of the worst crimes committed against another person. Violent rape must be prosecuted to the fullest degree of the law.
My Wild West comments seemed to confuse some of you as to where I was going with this statement. I grew up in a time when society didn’t tolerate a man impregnating a woman, and then not taking responsibility for the child and the mother. I did not say force a violently raped woman to marry her rapist. Some people really stretched on that one.
It is not society’s responsibility to raise the children of fathers who refuse to support them or their mothers. I don’t want to go back to the days of grandpa holding a gun at a wedding. However, I do believe we must do all we can to integrate morals, integrity and especially responsibility into our society. This is the basic fabric required for a civil society.
Even if it’s a difficult situation, it‘s the responsibility of both a man and woman who conceive a child in a relationship, (not violent rape) that they must deal with it. Killing the child is not an option. No one ever said life would be easy.
My father, an elder man by the time I was a teenager, gave me advice I’ve given to young people I’ve come to know. “Never have sex with someone you wouldn’t want to marry.” I know its cliché, and old fashioned, but it’s true. Casual sex resulting in a pregnancy, resulting in aborting a baby is wrong.
95% of the 814 abortions in South Dakota last year weren’t for rape, or incest, but mainly for ridding someone of an unwanted baby. Getting an abortion because of poverty is a popular yet tragic excuse. How many famous people were born into extreme poverty, yet became role models for young people or made a vital contribution to the world? There are dozens of groups who will help a pregnant mother or parents through this difficult time with counseling, support, money, and let’s not forget adoption. We are a very giving and caring nation.
Finally, my Religious Virgin statement. Molly Ivins, amazingly, got part of it right. The statement I made was just ONE example, not the ONLY example. During the interview, Fred de Sam Lazaro asked me for a scenario. I said, “Worst Case?” He said, “Yes.” My description was absolutely the worst case scenario I could think of that could happen to an innocent woman so traumatized both physically and psychologically by her attacker that she should possibly consider having an abortion, which could save her life. There are other examples to consider for an abortion to save a woman’s life. But, I was only asked for one.
I think many were so upset about the passage of this bill, they lashed out, and I was an easy target. Many of you told me my comments were too brutal. Everything about abortion is brutal.
I voted for HB1215, for two reasons. First, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, we will get our constitutional rights back as a Sovereign State to decide our own abortion issues in South Dakota. Second, to stop abortions performed for convenience. Just as an aside, I did vote for the amendment to put this issue on the ballot to allow South Dakotans to vote on HB1215.
What‘s sad is, the issue of abortion is so emotionally charged it’s difficult to have a rational discussion about it without threats and intimidation. We must come to some common ground about abortion. It’s out there; we just need to find it.
Senator Bill Napoli
6180 S. Hwy. 79
Rapid City, S.D. 57702