Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

I can't help but notice how many news organizations through their media outlets are calling for Private Manning to receive proper medical care for a transition from male to female, including hormones, while in military prison.

They call it "cruel and unusual punishment" as defined in the Constitution, and rightfully so when it involves the protection of transgender individual from violence, rape and other physical abuse by other prisoners or guards.

Whether it's cruel or unusual punishment to deny non-life threatening medical treatments from a prisoner has been subject to a lot of discussion over the years, and if mandatory treatment should include medical care for transgender prisoners to transition.

Granted the DSM-V stipulates transgender, meaning someone who recognize they gender is differnt than their birth sex, is a condition which is treatable with therapy, drugs and surgery if desired. But whille Manning has received a preliminary diagnosis of being transgender, it hasn't been fully confirmed by other medical professionals.

And that's the question, should Manning get the therapy for that determination, and if so diagnosed, get the treatment of hormones at the government's, meaning the taxpayers', expense. But that's another issue and not the point I want to make here.

While a whole array of organizations and people have asserted the rights of prisoners who are diagnosed as transgender to receive treatment in prison, almost none of these same organizations and people have argued health insurance companies denying the same rights to paying customers is also cruel and unusual punishment.

If it's fair and right for prisoners, why isn't it fair and right for citizens? There are tens of thousands of transgender people being denied coverage under their health insurance for transgender healthcare and treatment, even well after a diagnosis.

Not only are they denied, their record, if they reveal it to the health insurance company by themselves or through the healthcare providers, is almost always flagged and other medical care denied or rejected as related to their diagnosis as transgender.

This is a case of legitimate needs of people paying for health insurance being subject to cruel and unusual punishment by corporations for the same condition. Where are the voices for them? Where is the outrage of the injustice?

Nowhere. And that too is cruel and unusual punishment by those voices aruging for prisoners' rights. Maybe they should be held to their own standards before they yell about the standards imposed on prisoners.

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