It is an uphill struggle, trying to convince New Jersey legislators we need a bill to require mammogram providers to inform women when they have dense breast tissue.
After the recent passage of legislation in California and New York, we thought New Jersey would be next. But we have learned the bill is not even scheduled for this session.
Here is an urgent plea from Laurie Scofield, Director of Dense, New Jersey, (New Jersey is sure being dense about this) for you to contact Dr. Herb Conaway, Chair of the Health and Senior Services committee and urge him to schedule – and pass – this bill:
Dear Friend of Dense, New Jersey:
Bill A2022, Breast Density Inform, has stalled and women’s lives continue to be placed in jeopardy while it’s politics as usual in Trenton. As many of you know, we have been waiting for NJ’S Breast Density Inform/Insurance bill to be advanced in the Assembly. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and was sent to the Assembly in late June and referred to the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS).
The February 2013 HHS committee agenda has been released and once again, the agenda does not include A2022. Despite all of our hard work in garnering so much support from Assembly Members, A2022 has yet to be added to the committee’s calendar or scheduled for a vote.
Without the opportunity to be heard and voted on, the bill faces the possibility of dying in committee and will have to be re-introduced next session. Right now the bill’s fate is in the hands of Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Chairman of the Health and Senior Services Committee. It is critical he hear from supporters of this life saving legislation. While the bill languishes, cancers are missed and women’s lives are endangered.
Here’s what YOU can do (and please ask all of your NJ friends and relatives to do the same).
Rather than asking for more support from your district’s legislators, it’s time to reach out to Assemblyman Conaway directly and ask him why this important bill has seemingly stalled in his Committee! Please contact Assemblyman Conaway’s office this week. Phone his office (856) 461-3997.
Tell him that as a NJ resident, you were disappointed to see that A2022 was not on the February agenda.
Let him know that you care about this issue and ask why a bill that could prevent later stage cancer diagnosis and impact the lives of thousands of NJ women is not a priority.
Ask if A2022 will be scheduled for the March meeting and if not, then when he anticipates that it will be scheduled.
Or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggested email (please feel free to personalize):
Dear Assemblyman Conaway,
I am writing to request your assistance as Health and Senior Services Committee Chair to advance Breast Density Inform/Insurance bill A2022 for a vote. Both Connecticut and New York have enacted Breast Density Inform legislation and New Jersey women deserve the same protection. Research indicates that every year at least 1,600 NJ women with dense breasts leave their mammograms being told all is “normal/negative” but who actually have invasive breast cancer that would be found if they were sent for screening ultrasounds. These are cancers currently missed year after year hidden behind dense tissue – finally found when late stage and least survivable. Any further delay means these 1,600 women a year lose the opportunity for an early stage diagnosis and 1,600 New Jersey families are shattered by a later stage cancer diagnosis. The stakes could not be higher and this critically important legislation needs to be moved forward within your committee.
(Personal paragraph here if interested)
Perhaps making a collective noise with this very direct approach will be the key to getting A2022 prioritized. As a collective voice determined to stand up and save the lives of the women of NJ and not to let this issue simply fade away perhaps A2022 will make it onto the agenda beforeyet another month goes by and another couple of hundred women have to go through an aggressive treatment for a later stage cancer unnecessarily.
Thank you for your continued support. We WILL get this done together!
Director, Dense New Jersey