What an AMAZING experience for IRMS of NJ’s very 1st Advocacy Day with RESOLVE on Capital Hill yesterday!! Over 200 constituents from across the U.S. participated by speaking to their Senators and Congressman about the most important infertility-related bills before both the House and the Senate.
What are the Bills?
Women Veterans & Families Health Services Act of 2015 (HR 3365)
Veterans who are stricken with infertility as a result of a service-related injury do not have access to needed medical care and services to enable them to build their families. This bill allows the VA (Veterans Administration) to offer increased benefits to enable them to pursue their family building desires.Many veterans groups, such as, Paralyzed Veterans of America, support this bill. The bill will also improve fertility care for active duty and wounded service members who are trying to have children. This bill particularly matters to the state of NJ where according to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, as of 2014, we had over 430,000 veterans. According to our Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the number as of now is closer to 750,000.Blast injuries are a major source of the loss of fertility. DoD (Dep’t of Defense) data from 2003-2011, nearly 2,000 women and men suffered life-changing battle injuries while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Bill to pay special compensation to certain veterans with the loss of or loss of use of creative organs (HE 4892)
Introduced in April by House Veterans’ Affairs Chair, Jeff Miller (R-FL). Permits qualifying veterans with injuries to their reproductive organs to receive a special disability payment of up to $20,000, which they may use at their discretion. Given the lack of benefits currently provided by the VA for family building, a veteran could use the payment for fertility treatment or adoption services.
Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2015 (HR 2434)
The Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) was made permanent in 2013, but was not made refundable as it had been in prior years (2010 and 2011). Refundability is important because it allows those who have lower financial resources to get the credit benefit to adopt a child in need. This bill restores refundability so that families who need the credit the most receive it. Refundability would help the 46% of families who adopt in the foster care system who are at or below 200% of the poverty level and may not have a tax liability that allows them to use the credit right away. According to HHS (Dep’t of Health and Human Services), as of mid-2013, New Jersey had over 7,000 children in foster care. A large coalition of adoption groups support this bill.
In NJ alone there are 190,000 constituents suffering from infertility! Please do what you can to help us support the passage of these bills. Write your Congressman and Senators and tell them your story and struggle to get help and coverage. Our NJ Congressman are as follows: Donald Norcross, Frank LoBiondo, Tom MacArthur, Chris Smith, Scott Garrett, Frank Pallone, Jr., Leonard Lance, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald Payne, Jr. and Rodney Frelinhuysen. To find their addresses please go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/ Our NJ Senators are Cory Booker and Robert Menendez. To find their addresses please go to http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
RESOLVE improves the lives of women and men living with infertility. Dr. Chen and I met the most inspiring, articulate and determined group of people and our collective VOICE was loud and clear to our members of the House and Senate.
A BIG SHOUT OUT to my district’s Rep. Frelinghuysen for his time, knowledge and clear sensitivity to the issues we brought to him! He said he would co-sponsor HR 3365 – Women Veterans & Families Health Services Act of 2015. Doesn’t get much better than that!