In order for Congress to introduce and pass legislation that is favorable to birth centers, your state and federal Congress people need to know you and have a relationship with you.
Engage others to help you! Do you have someone on your staff who is particularly organized and/or interested in politics? Or do you have a school nearby that is always looking for intern placement sites? If so, think about designating one of these ambitious people to be your point person with legislative offices to help set up meetings at their offices or at your birth center or to be in touch with updates.
Don't think this is important?
Christine Haas, Executive Director at Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health, had this to say:
"At our birth center, because we already had relationships, we were in a better position to get support for defeating a state-wide bill that would have limited hospital privileges to physicians, podiatrists and dentists. We also recently got support from state legislators for a $200K county grant. We were awarded for our planned expansion and just got 13 letters of support from state representatives and senators for a $1 million state grant. I got most of the letters by simply calling or sending an email to state legislators or their staff people because they already knew me."
WHAT TO SEND: via email or fax
Dear Senator or Representative (last name):
This time of year is all about change and renewal. It's time to dig in the dirt and make something grow. It's the perfect time to help grow birth centers. Birth centers are a home-like environment for healthy, low-risk women to give birth. Birth centers offer a program of excellence in education for pregnancy, nutrition, birth, labor support, baby care and general women's health. They are governed by national standards that reflect quality assurance and have a strong relationship with other community health agencies for complimentary services.
If you are a birth center or work in one, please add in a couple of sentences talking about your center and what it offers your community.
If you are a consumer or birth advocate, please add a couple of sentences talking about why you are so supportive of birth centers.
I can be reached at (insert your contact information) or please feel free to contact Kate Bauer, Executive Director of the American Association of Birth Centers at 215-234-8068 or firstname.lastname@example.org.