A Kevin Bacon hat tip to my wife, who read this on Pandagon, who got this from the SEIU:
Loyal readers, you know I love South Dakota. That's why I live here. That's why my daughter will grow up here. But some news makes me want to take my state by the scruff of the neck and say "South Dakota! What on earth is wrong with you?!"
To wit: South Dakota is one of nine states that allows health insurance companies to reject applications from victims of domestic abuse. South Dakota women, if your husband beats you, he may render you uninsurable.
I can't sort out all the levels on which South Dakota's policy here is disgusting. Domestic abuse is all about power, usually some desperate, inadequate, pathetic man using fists and fear to force a woman into submission. Wifebeaters cut their victims off from avenues of social and financial support. Taking away a woman's ability to buy her own health insurance can cripple her financially and reinforce her dependence on her abuser. By making it possible for some brute to take away a woman's insurability with one drunken wallop, we, the state of South Dakota, become accomplices in domestic abuse.
Somewhere, some insurance company employee (any bets on whether it was a man?) had to reason out the following: "Gee, women whose husbands beat them might incur more medical costs. Women whose husbands beat them might reduce our profits. Therefore, we should not do business with women whose husbands beat them."
Our private health insurance system not only allows but embraces such appalling thinking. The state of South Dakota facilitates such evil, favoring profits over people. South Dakota considers wife-beating, like pregnancy, a pre-existing condition. I keep hearing we're a pro-life state, but our leaders keep providing evidence to the contrary.
We may not be able to legislate or educate every man into showing every woman the proper love and respect the Bible demands. But we can act to change an immoral system that perpetuates the powerlessness abusers inflict on their victims. Mitch, Gerry, Russ—fix this.
Domestic abuse is not a pre-existing condition. It is a crime for which the abuser, not the abused, should be punished. No man should be allowed to take away a woman's right, if not to receive health care, then to participate in the free market and buy with her own money the health insurance that is necessary to get care.
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