Advocacy Day 2016 – We Want Infertility Coverage for Veterans
I hardly know where to begin.
Washington, DC, May 10-11, 2016- Advocacy day with Resolve. Can’t say enough about Resolve, but I will in the next week or so. Suffice it to say at this moment, that they are an extraordinary group of advocates. No hyperbole there. Extraordinary, from the top to the middle and with every single volunteer.
This recounting could simply be five thousand exclamation points but that wouldn’t really give you a full measure of what occurred on these two days and also doesn’t feel particularly articulate. Feeling the need to express the intense enthusiasm that I feel and felt about the important work that I saw done and the courageous, knowledgeable and dedicated people that I met is making me overwhelmed.
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) was honored to attend Advocacy Day as Resolve volunteers. More poignant than words can really express was having Dr. Mark Leondires with us. Dr. Leondires is a veteran– listening to him talk about his experiences building his family and what his family means to him brought tears to the eyes of many of us. Having him able to present the medical issues regarding reproductive medicine was invaluable to the conversations with the legislators.
Advocacy Day Facts
How about I start with a few facts?
- Biggest advocacy day ever for Resolve, with more patient advocates attending than in any other year (over 200).
- Letters collected from constituents from all fifty states.
- Twenty-seven states represented by patient advocates.
- Senators, congresspeople and senior staff met with patient advocates.
- Letters (also known as “support material”) delivered.
- Conversations and presentations by Resolve and supporters.
I’m trying to be organized, I really am. Bear with me. What is below cannot be listed as a fact. When you read, you will see why:
We listened in rapt attention on Wednesday morning, before our day on Capitol Hill began, to Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a decorated veteran wounded in combat, who came back from her injuries, enduring surgeries every day for a year (having lost both legs and severely damaging one arm), rallying to continue to serve her country, (our country), to serve yet again as a congressperson. Inspiring, unbelievable story told with a sense of humor. Rep. Duckworth talked about the choice she had to make that very morning about drying her hair or putting on makeup. Why? Because she has a 16 month old child.
And because she’s not busy and hasn’t achieved enough (insert irony), she is now running for Senate. Sure, why not?
Veterans Deserve Infertility Insurance Coverage
Want to hear something that is so much less than inspiring?
She had no infertility coverage as a wounded vet. Even though she is now limited by her injuries serving her country, she has and had, no infertility coverage. Even though her injuries and her service to our country directly led to her need for infertility services, no coverage.
It’s a travesty.
Is there any other word to use? Rep. Duckworth served our country, her entire adult life, was severely wounded doing so, earning a purple heart and we, (yes, we) do not provide her the ability to have a child, to build her family.
Is there a harsher word than travesty?
There are a few, I’m sure. Abominable comes to mind.
Disgraceful is another.
#IVF4Vets is the hashtag to use if you agree.
And let’s do this so our combined voices matter. Tweet your congressperson. Tweet your senators. Our politicians have people that check their social media constantly. Let’s bombard them about this. There are two bills coming up that you can bring to their attention to support. That you can tell them that YOU want to support.
Call them. Leave them a message. Get the name of the person that you speak with and let them know that you will be calling back to see where their boss stands on these issues.
They work for us. We elect them. Tell them directly what you want.
Join Us in Supporting Infertility Coverage for Veterans
We want coverage for our vets. We want them to be able to start their families. They deserve it. They’ve earned it.
The bills (thank you Resolve!):
Senate– S469 and The Veterans Amendment to the Senate Appropriations Mil-Con Bill
Congress HR (House of Representatives)– HR3365 and 4892
To read more, please go to Resolve– this wonderful material will explain, very clearly and succinctly what the issues are and which legislators are supporting what.
If you’re like me, you may not know who your legislators are. Don’t be embarrassed if that’s true, because luckily, it’s really easy to find out. You put in your state and/or zip code, and voila, you will find it. Click here for Senators and here for Representatives.
We can do this. Really, we can. Please help our veterans build their families.
They’ve earned that right.
Shouldn’t it be our honor to help?
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.