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Reproductive Health Activist – Sample Application Essay – UNEDITED

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I am an activist with a commitment to fighting for progressive causes through legislation, policy, and grassroots organizing. While I have participated in many varied projects from editing a sexuality education curriculum to campaigning for gay rights as a local boardmember of [the statewide gay rights organization], I am most concerned with reproductive health issues. In this statement I will explain how I gained expertise in this field through both academic and professional work from 1988 to the present. Through this work I have acquired the intellectual foundation and the concrete experience to be an effective advocate for citizens’ right to sexuality education and health care.

At [school] I began my commitment to reproductive health. I earned the right to design my own major in women’s studies and legal issues, for which I took courses in feminism and wrote on the developing legal precedent recognizing fetal rights. During my year at [school] I studied the impact the abortion pill RU 486 might have on the National Health Service, researched the evolving debate about the drug in the European press, and presented my findings at a Women’s Studies Department seminar upon my return to the U.S. In my senior thesis on the legal treatment of pregnant substance abusers, I addressed the difficulties associated with prosecuting these women and proposed alternative approaches.

While I was a student, I gained professional experience as a birth control counselor at the University health clinic. I also worked as a Planned Parenthood educator, for which I edited a sexuality education curriculum and designed and taught community programs on contraception, AIDS, puberty, and sexual abuse prevention.

When I moved to a small desert town in the Western United States, I volunteered for a democratic congressional campaign, where I briefed the candidate on abortion rights and sexuality issues in health care reform. I met the executive director of the regional Planned Parenthood, and convinced her to hire me as the agency’s first Director of Public Affairs. I coordinated grassroots lobbying efforts on pending legislation including the state’s health care reform bill, clinic access bill, and anti-gay rights legislation.

I quickly learned that this small town was far more conservative than my university’s eastern college community. Many of Planned Parenthood’s efforts to promote sexuality education were thwarted. I decided to discover who opposed the agency and what their tactics were. My research uncovered a network of local activists, some of whom had connections to state and nation-wide Conservative organizations. I attended many meetings and followed public right-wing activity such as the campaign to teach creationism in our local schools. I published my findings in an op-ed piece for our local paper, and as a front page article for a west-coast human rights newsletter. I have enclosed copies of these publications for you.

When my State Senator asked me to manage his reelection campaign, I eagerly accepted since I knew he had worked hard in support of health care and civil rights. The position also offered me greater professional responsibility. Even though we lost the election, the campaign was an invaluable lesson in creating an effective political message, managing hundreds of volunteers, working in coalition with other campaigns, designing advertising, and fundraising.

I had hoped to work in the state capitol after the campaign, and I am now working for a state level health care advocacy organization which employs a lobbyist and coordinates grassroots strategy. In my new position I am researching legislation, helping the director design lobbying strategies, and keeping affiliated organizations throughout the state informed about evolving policy and bills.

While I believe that I have developed both academic and professional expertise in reproductive health policy, health care reform, and political organizing, I would like to acquire the skills and power to make a bigger difference. Law school would provide me with the technical skills and professional influence to be more effective in confronting right-wing litigation and initiatives and in designing and advocating for progressive social policy. After law school, I envision working for a non-profit organization such as the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, or working in government drafting and analyzing reproductive health policy and legislation.

Note: This essay appears unedited for instructional purposes. Essays edited by EssayEdge are substantially improved. For samples of EssayEdge editing, please click here.

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