Happy Advocacy Day!

So, it’s Wednesday again.  I’ve missed a few bullet-point Wednesdays recently, so I thought I’d return to form. Ready?  Today’s list: Things you can do to make Mrs. But IF a very happy gal:

  1. Write or call your elected representatives TODAY in support of the Family Act (S 881/HR 1851) and the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act (S 131/HR 958).
  2. See number 1.

You see, today was Advocacy Day.  I strongly believe we need advocates and Advocacy Day.  Today, 115 brave women and men traveled to Washington, D.C. on behalf of the infertility community to support our cause.  All day I found myself longing to be in the company of these amazing women and men!  Why don’t you review their stories on Twitter at #advocacyday2013?  Better yet, why don’t you stand alongside them and make your voice heard with your own letters, emails, phone calls, and tweets?

And, to put my money where my mouth is, here’s generally what I sent to my senators and representative.  (Though, I added detail to each to personalize it to the congressperson addressed.)

Dear XXX,

I am writing you today as a proud new resident, homeowner, and tax-payer in [City, State].  Last year at this time I was conducting a national job search hoping to advance in my profession.  I received competitive offers from three prestigious universities, but I chose to move to [your state].  One of the primary motivators of this choice was that, aside from being a wife, a professor, and an educated and politically-engaged member of my community, I am also an infertile 29-year-old woman who has struggled for 3.5 years to see her dreams of parenthood become a reality.  Unfortunately, these dreams have as of yet gone unfulfilled, but you can play a large role in helping me make my dreams – and the dreams of so many other [state] couples – become a reality by supporting the Family Act (S 881/HR 1851).

I am one of 7.3 million Americans that has a medical condition fully recognized by the CDC, but that is yet often totally ignored by the health insurance industry.  This time last year I was writing my elected officials in [old state] urging them to follow the lead of states such as [new state] in mandating some form of infertility coverage benefits.  Though your colleagues in the state government have taken a large step forward with the [state law], in-vitro fertilization – a procedure that may hold the key to my becoming a mother – is still excluded from the mandate.  Similarly, countless fellow state residents have found that they are not subject to even this weak state mandate due to the variety of loopholes that exist in the code.

The Family Act will help thousands of people seek medical treatment that otherwise would be out of reach for them.  These women and men are not denied treatment because it would be medically harmful or inappropriate for their situations, or because they are not interested in seeking it out, but solely because they do not have the financial means to secure diagnosis or treatment.  Finding out you have a life changing medical condition is heart-wrenching enough; realizing that your medical condition – in most instances in this country – will not be acknowledged by the insurance plan your employer has selected for you, is even more devastating.  Finding a way to financially assist couples seeking treatment with tax credits is of immense importance.

Last year I founded [old state’s] first and, currently, only RESOLVE-backed peer-led infertility support group.  I was initially unsure what level of attention or involvement this new group would engender, but have been truly humbled by the number of women and men the group reaches.  I can tell you first-hand that countless Americans are in need of your support to help them build their family’s through infertility treatment.  The stories I have heard have been nothing short of heartbreaking.  I have met women whose serious medical symptoms – red flags for endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases, and anatomical abnormalities that all are and will continue to impact their overall health and well-being – have been ignored because they could not afford to seek out the appropriate medical specialist since visits to reproductive specialists are not covered under many insurance plans.  I, myself, was told last year that surgeries to correct my endometriosis – a lifelong medical condition that impacts my daily well-being and quality of life – would not be covered under my [old state] insurance since such surgeries could “potentially help me become pregnant,” and, as such, were “lifestyle choices” akin to breast augmentation surgery.  Having my bowel removed from my abdominal wall where it had been fused by endometriosis adhesions is NOT a lifestyle choice.  This issue goes beyond the question of whether or not one believes in the ethics or appropriateness of assisted reproductive technologies, and directly to the question of preserving the health and safety of the women and men you serve.

Please help me, my husband, and my countless sisters and brothers in the infertility community bring new [state residents] into the world.

With Regards,

<Insert My Super Secret Identity Here>

3 thoughts on “Happy Advocacy Day!

  1. Pingback: Not when, but IF

  2. Thanks so much for sending that letter! I sent mine that day too, but mine wasn’t nearly as detailed as yours was. Good for you for putting in so much time and emotional energy!

  3. Pingback: Up, down, all around | Not when, but IF

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