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Patricia McLaughlin, Published October 17 2010

Berg’s vote puts women at risk

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I worked in a shelter for abused women, women who had faced daily fear and ruthless brutality at the hands of their abusers. There are thousands of women and families in North Dakota still living that terror every day. In fact, last year in North Dakota, eight women died at the hands of their abusers.

Disgracefully, North Dakota made national headlines last winter because of domestic violence policy. It was exposed that we were one of eight states that allow for discrimination within insurance policies using domestic violence as a “pre-existing condition.” This means insurance companies could deny coverage to a woman who had faced domestic violence, women like those I worked with.

While Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, served in the North Dakota Legislature, a bill was put before him relating to unfair insurance practices with respect to people affected by domestic violence. The bill would have fixed the shameful flaw in our law years before it became a huge embarrassment for our state. Berg’s “no” vote helped defeat this fix and allowed for the continuation of discrimination against women and families.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., has been doing his part to bring the tragic yet all too common crisis of domestic violence to the forefront. His support for legislation that supports programs to prevent and end domestic violence illustrates his commitment to healthy families. It is clear Berg does not have the best interest of families at heart – more like insurance companies in his back pocket. Please join me in voting to protect families of North Dakota, and cast your ballot for Pomeroy.