Posts tagged advocacy
Posts tagged advocacy
A dear tweep of mine, Rachel (from www.rachelsgettingthere.blogspot.com), participated in Advocacy Day 2012 by making phone calls to her elected representatives today, showing her support for the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit. Being in the offices today showed me how important it is that others were calling in to reinforce our message. Every phone call, visit and email makes our message stronger. I was so excited to hear about Rachel’s experience that I wanted to share her story on my blog. She’s an inspiration and I’m so thankful for her great work today! HIGH FIVE, Rachel!!
Today I made my first phone call to someone on Capital Hill. I made three calls actually, one to Senator Saxby Chambliss, one to Senator Johnny Isaacson, and one to Representative Lynn Westmoreland. I don’t know why, but I was really nervous about it. I called to express my desire to see the Family Act passed and to see the Adoption Tax Credit extended. I was sent to a voicemail by Senator Chambliss’ office but I was able to speak to actual people from Senator Isaacson’s and Representative Westmoreland’s offices.
I shared with both of the men that I spoke to that my husband and I were one of the many couples that wanted desperately to have a family but do not have coverage for infertility through our insurance company and, like most couples of child bearing age, we aren’t rich. I expressed how much these tax credits would mean to families like mine in that they would make our dream of having children a little bit closer in reach.
The man that I spoke to from Senator Isaacson’s office had just gotten out of a meeting with Resolve when I called. I didn’t get a definite answer on whether or not I could count on the Senator to support the Family Act (he said they wanted to look at the nuts and bolts of the bill before making a decision) but he did sound very positive towards it.
The man that I spoke to from Representative Westmoreland’s office said that they supported both the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit. He told me that not only would these bills help build families, but they would also help stimulate the economy. If I have a baby I go to Babies’R’Us and buy products, I take my child to the doctor, and pay for child care. All of these things are good for the economy. I was so thrilled to hear this argument for the tax credits. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s a darn good argument.
I felt so empowered after making those calls. Standing up for myself, my husband, and people like us felt amazing. We need to be our own advocates. We are many, and if we stand together we CAN make things happen. This is meaningful to me because infertility has made me feel so out of control of my life and my own body. It felt good to take even a little of that power back.
Mores soon, but first, the proof! Advocacy Day 2012 with RESOLVE.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that throughout this hellish journey through infertility, I’ve discovered and embraced my inner advocate. We all do so much to educate ourselves about our disease and the never-ending series of hoops we have to jump through to get the treatments we need. We understand the barriers that needlessly exist, keeping us from building the families we want. We know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Tomorrow, I’m going to #NIAW Advocacy Day in DC with Resolve. This is a huge event for me; one I feel I’ve been building to all year. I cannot wait to stand up with other advocates from the infertility community and say “Don’t ignore infertility!” to our elected leaders. It’s their job to listen, and our job to speak.
I know that many of you struggle with how to talk about infertility, to whom, and when. I understand this struggle, and went through it myself. But. I want to challenge you to take a small, but hugely important, step towards embracing your inner advocate. We cannot be heard if we don’t speak.
I want you to call your representatives tomorrow, and tell them to support the Family Act that’s been proposed in Congress, or to renew the Adoption Tax Credit - both of which Resolve volunteers will be talking about on Capital Hill. Here’s more information from Resolve on how to participate in Advocacy Day, even if you can’t travel to DC tomorrow.
Call your Members of Congress today!
Don’t ignore legislation affecting infertility patients. Help change policy and bring greater access to family building options for people diagnosed with infertility. Call your Members of Congress and ask them to support the Family Act and save the Adoption Tax Credit.
Your legislators will make decisions on what issues to support based on feedback from their constituents. They need to hear from you that the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit are pro-family, pro-women’s issues, and important to the middle class.
The calls will take five minutes! Here are all the details you need to make these very important calls.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in a “Family Act Key State” or you are a military family, or a cancer survivor that has been diagnosed with infertility, it is critically important that you call your Senators and Representative in Washington, D.C. to convey your support for the Family Act and Adoption Tax Credit! Find a list of key states here.
I challenge you to make a phone call tomorrow! It’ll take 15 minutes total, between reading up and placing the call. NO EXCUSES. Just do it. The impact of our advocacy could mean that millions of families can afford the fertility treatments they need to treat their disease. It could mean that millions of families can afford to adopt. It could make the most important difference in a family’s journey.
Don’t ignore your inner advocate. Make the call. And, then, let me know that you did. (So I can high-five you so hard your nail polish flies off!)
Help Resolve.org and help the infertility community today by speaking up for government support of infertility treatments. Resolve.org is trying to get 7,300 signatures on this letter ASAP.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius is tasked with determining the Essential Health Benefits that will be used in the new health insurance exchanges in each state. These newly determine Essential Health Benefits will take effect in January 2014.
RIGHT NOW, the Secretary is determining what will be included as an Essential Health Benefit as we anticipate an announcement in the next few months.
Now is the time for Secretary Sebelius to hear from the infertility community and those that care about us.
Let’s raise our collective voices, thousands of them, and tell the Secretary we matter! The goal is to have 7,300 people sign this petition, each one representing a thousand people in the US impacted by infertility.
This is your chance to speak up and speak out and tell HHS that you matter, your health matters, your dream of a family matters, and that 7.3 million women and men diagnosed with infertility matter.
Seriously, do it RIGHT NOW! Click! Sign! Email your husbands! Have them sign! Post this on your blog!!
First, I sincerely want to thank everyone who purchased a #hope tee in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week - I sold 27 tees altogether! THANK YOU! I know you’ll wear them proudly. Remember, I did not make any money off the sale of these tees. Each tee purchased included a $5 donation to Resolve.org, which I matched! AMAZING!
I also asked my friends and family to make donations to Resolve.org in honor of NIAW and our struggle. Boy howdy did they come through. I am overwhelmed by the generosity everyone showed. It was truly moving.
So, here’s the final breakdown for my NIAW fundraiser:
You bought 27 #hope tees! Donation: $135
I matched: $135
My friends and family donated: $345
I matched: $345
GRAND TOTAL DONATED TO RESOLVE: $960
Can you even believe it? I am so proud of this!
National Infertility Awareness Week is so important to me. Last year during this time, I had just been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and was struggling with facing this new reality. NIAW and Resolve helped me see that I am not alone. There is a community of strong, brave women (and men!) who are also struggling with infertility and aren’t ashamed or embarrassed to talk about. “One in eight.” Even more than that, they want to talk about and they want to support each other. I can say without reservation that this community has changed my life. I am so blessed to be a part of this community and to know that I am not alone.
NIAW and Resolve have also helped me find my voice as an advocate. I haven’t done nearly as much as I’d like to (stinking IF and treatments take up so much energy!), but I know that when I’m ready, there will be many opportunities for me to speak out and support this community. I’ve had the idea for this fundraiser for months. NIAW helped motivate me to put my idea into action. And, look how amazing the results were!
I dedicate this donation to all of you. My readers and my tweeps. You are amazing. You are strong and brave. Your support has changed my life. I can never repay you for being there for me when I’ve needed you. My gratitude runs deep. Thank you.
I’m super excited to be attending the NYC Planned Parenthood rally tomorrow afternoon! (Find an event near you!) I have to say, throughout this struggle with infertility, nothing has helped me as much as supporting other women, and advocating for our rights to health care. We all deserve to be heard. I’m so proud to be a woman, to be a part of this community, and to be able to voice my opinion.
You can still help too! Here are some tips that PP recently sent me. Five easy ways to make your voice heard, and stand with women!
Here are five ways you can help, right now:
- If you haven’t already, sign our open letter to the members of Congress who voted to bar Planned Parenthood from federal funding — and to the senators who still have a chance to stop it. Half a million people have already signed. Add your name.
- Take a stand for Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens who rely on us in your community. Click here to find out about local events near you.
- Make a gift to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The work that lies ahead of us as the bill moves to the Senate for consideration is nothing short of astonishing. We need your help to rise to this incredible challenge.
- Find out how your representative voted on the bill to bar Planned Parenthood from federal funding — and then let him or her know how you feel.
- Share your story. Extreme anti-choice groups and their allies in Congress are spreading lies and misinformation about who we are and what we do. Help set the record straight by sharing your story about how Planned Parenthood has been there for you, your family, or your friends.
You can also check the status of ongoing legislation advocacy initiatives from Resolve and the Center for Infertility Justice. (“RESOLVE [is] the only patient advocacy group in the U.S. that fights for the rights of women and men who are infertile has seen an increasing need to bring together the community to ensure that our voices are heard.”) All of these reproductive health care issues have serious repercussions for the infertility community. (Here’s an AMAZING post from Keiko Zoll on why all of us infertiles need to act now to protect our reproductive rights.) It’s time to stand up for our rights!
I’m sure many of you have heard about the absolute insanity that has taken over the House of Representatives this week. It appears that certain politicians are pushing an agenda that compromises women’s rights, our health, our safety, and our lives. Here are a couple of articles I’ve read that have moved me (one, two, three, four and this video). There was a brief period in my life when I had very little income and no health insurance. I got birth control and other health services from Planned Parenthood. I knew that it was a safe place that I, as a women, could go to get medical care. I trusted them and I still do. I cannot imagine an America where women do not have access to these critical health services. This isn’t just about abortion. Planned Parenthood offers critical, sometimes life-saving, preventative health care to millions of women every year.
I stand with women.
YOU CAN DO SOMETHING TO STOP THIS!
If we ever want to see a day where all women (and men) have access to affordable fertility treatments, we have to defend our health care. We simply cannot let our current health care be cut. This is unacceptable. Please stand with me.
Today I told my boss about our upcoming IVF. I’ve been going through a process of “making room” for IVF over the past couple of weeks. Clearing out my calendar, canceling obligations, saying no, etc., so I can have all the room I need to get through this process without a complete nervous breakdown. I need to be fully able to support and nurture myself. Part of this is my decision to take plenty of time off of work during the cycle. This isn’t medically required, but I know it’s what I’ll need to do for myself.
So, I presented my boss with a statement. “My husband and I have been working with a fertility clinic for eight months and will be starting IVF treatments in January. This process is extremely emotionally and physically taxing, and I expect to be taking about two sick days a week for six weeks during the treatment cycle.” I also gave him a packet of information: a medical study on the emotional and physical impact of fertility treatment on women and two print outs from the Resolve.org website about infertility. And, he didn’t bat an eye! He was completely supportive and understanding. No questions, I need to take time to focus on myself. He’s had other staff go through IF treatments, and understands the impact it has on our lives. It was a huge huge relief. Now, I finally have my ducks lined up!
THEN! Then, I sent him another advocacy-type email to follow up. Our company is going through a “benefits review” process. I.e. “We’re going to cut your benefits, but we’ll ask you about it first.” Yikes! As you know, I’ve been blessed to have meds and treatments covered thus far, with only co-pays. I’m also in the process of switching insurance to have IVF coverage, starting January 1. I wanted my boss to understand just how important this benefit is. Here’s what I wrote:
“Regarding our earlier conversation, I want to stress just how important insurance coverage is for fertility treatments. Right now, our company offers two plans that cover IVF cycles (within limits). This is very rare and invaluable to families who are struggling with infertility. Fertility treatments can cost thousands of dollars between the medication and procedures. One round of IVF can cost anywhere from $5,000-$15,000, if insurance coverage isn’t available. I’ve been beyond lucky to have everything covered with only co-pays thus far. Yesterday, I paid only $92 for what would have easily been over one thousand dollars in prescription medicines.
If our company were to lose this coverage it would be a serious, life-changing loss to many staff. One in ten couples trying to conceive will struggle with infertility. That’s about 7.3 million Americans, and over 400,000 New York State residents. It’s really not a minority issue. Insurance coverage for fertility treatments makes families possible.
Resolve.org has information about insurance coverage for employers: http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/insurance_coverage/coverage-at-work.html
I know a lot goes into these decisions about benefits. I want to voice my perspective, and my deep gratitude that this benefit is available to me. It has changed my life during an incredibly difficult time. If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to ask me.
I gotta say, readers, I’m DAMN proud of myself right now. And, I would never have had the knowledge or strength to write this type of email, or approach my boss, without knowing all of you. Knowing that I have the support of a community and that I can advocate for myself and others in my situation has changed my life.
It was a pretty damn good day.
Hi. I’m Jen. And, I’m infertile. (No, this isn’t AA. One of the benefits of infertility is that I can drink as much as I want.)
Inspired by Keiko Zoll’s blog series “Belly Full of Fire” on infertility advocacy, I’m taking the plunge. Here are a few things I’ve been wanting to do that will hopefully help the cause.
What I’m not ready to do: have people IRL read my blog and my Twitter. Just not ready for that yet. I want to be able to write here uncensored.