WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04) will welcome Kelsey Leigh, an abortion patient advocate from Pennsylvania, as her guest to President Biden’s State of the Union on February 7, 2023. As our country continues to grapple with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Congresswoman Dean wanted to uplift an abortion patient and advocate from Pennsylvania as a clear marker — abortion care is health care.
In 2016, Kelsey chose to have an abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy after severe fetal anomalies were discovered on a routine ultrasound. Just one month later, the Pennsylvania legislature attempted to fast track a 20-week abortion ban, HB1948. To speak out against the ban, Kelsey went to the Pennsylvania State Capitol that April and told her story publicly for the first time. There, she met then-State Representative Madeleine Dean who stood alongside her as a member of the Women’s Health Caucus.
In June 2016, when HB1948 unfortunately made it to the house floor for a vote, then-State Rep. Dean shared Kelsey’s story during debate. In December 2017, when HB1948 was once brought to the house and patient testimony was not allowed in committees, Dean again worked with Kelsey to share her story.
Kelsey Leigh publicly shared her story in Harrisburg, alongside then-State Representative Madeleine Dean and the Women’s Health Caucus, on April 11, 2016.
“I first met Kelsey Leigh during my time as a State Representative when she bravely told her abortion story in our State Capitol — I am deeply thankful that she will join me for the State of the Union tomorrow,” Rep. Dean said. “For years, Kelsey has been a fierce advocate for access to abortion care and now post-Roe, when state legislatures work to strip women and girls of their rights to private health care decisions, I’m glad to highlight Kelsey’s story and work and join her, once again, in our continued fight for reproductive freedom.”
“As an American, I’m in awe of getting to be present for the State of the Union, a cornerstone of our democracy which is recognized around the world. More meaningful is that I am attending the State of the Union as an abortion patient and advocate alongside Rep. Dean, a vehement defender of abortion rights,” Kelsey Leigh said. “In the shadow of our country’s harmful and tumultuous relationship with abortion, I will proudly take my seat on behalf of the millions of abortion patients across the country as just one example of the truth of an abortion story.”
Kelsey Leigh was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley and, after attending the University of Pittsburgh, chose to make Allegheny County her home. Kelsey, her partner, and their three children currently reside in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
For the seven years since her time speaking in Harrisburg, Kelsey has worked to destigmatize, expand access to, and tell the truth about abortion. She served on Planned Parenthood’s National Storytellers Board in 2021 and testified before the House Committee on Oversight & Reform in 2022. Kelsey is a founding board member of the Pittsburgh Abortion Doulas, a non-profit organization recently founded to support abortion patients in western PA. After the Dobbs decision, Kelsey began working at Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, one of two remaining abortion clinics in western Pennsylvania and the closest provider to several ban states.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.