What is Advocacy Day?
Advocacy Day was started by Resolve – an infertility awareness, non-profit organization. This year’s Advocacy Day is focusing on the Family Act. The Family Act was a bill proposed in May of 2011 by Senator Kristin Gillibrand of NY to create a tax credit for IVF expense that out of pocket. This would be HUGE to all of our current and future patients and allow more people to have access to the fertility treatment they didn’t think possible. The Family Act would give up to $13,000 tax credit, not a deduction, but a credit!! This bill would change the way the government sees infertility and would recognize that financials should never be the reason why a couple can’t become a family.
First, I want to say that Dr. Griffith was the only physician that was advocating on Capital Hill!! We are so excited that all of the doctors at Houston Fertility feel so passionate about this bill that Dr. Griffith was able to take the time off to attend such a worthy event. Dr. Griffith met with the Chair of Resolve, Barbara Collura, (picture on the right) and discussed how important this bill is to our practice and our patients.
On Wednesday, we woke up early and were fortunate to hear so many inspirational testimonies and discussions of the unlimited possibilities this bill could produce if passed. We listened to an empowering speech by Senator Blanche Lincoln (pictured to the left) whose husband is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and is a big supporter of the bill. After our morning meeting, we headed to Capital Hill to meet with the representatives of Senator John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. We didn’t stop there; we met with 12 other representatives from all over Texas and beyond expressing the need for this bill to be passed, and how helpful a tax credit for IVF could be. Sometimes it is difficult to feel like you’re making a difference when you’re just one person, but multiple representatives said that unless constituents actually raise a specific topic to our congressmen, the topic would cease to have any light brought upon it. What we were doing in DC did and is making a difference. Our voices were heard!
We want to ensure that our actions don’t stop in Washington DC, but continue here in Houston, TX, speaking with all o f our local congressmen and Senators. Appointments are being made for Dr. Griffith to discuss the need for this bill in person to these men and women. As of right now, only one Texas congressman, U.S. Representative Charles A. Gonzalez, has co-signed this bill, so we all need to act so others join in. It’s not too late to act!! If you haven’t already written letters to our congressmen expressing the need for this bill, and if you’re comfortable, your testimony, please take a couple minutes to do so. These letters are making a difference!
Thank you to Resolve for organizing, arranging meetings, and putting this entire event on!
Thank You to EMD Serono for sponsoring the event. Advocacy Day 2012 may not have happened without them.
And most importantly, we also wanted to Thank all of our patients who have been commenting on Facebook and Twitter with lots of love and support! It keeps reminding us why we are in the business of fertility and why the need for this bill to be passed is so great.