- Multiple Democratic members of Congress invited abortion activists to be their guests at President Biden’s State of the Union to send a message to Republican lawmakers.
- Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s guest, Dr. Erin King, is the director of an Illinois abortion clinic.
- Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean’s guest is an abortion patient advocate, former member of Planned Parenthood’s 2021 National Storytellers Board, and a previous employee at a western Pennsylvania abortion clinic.
Five Congressional Democrats are hosting abortion advocates, doctors, and women who crossed state lines to obtain the procedure as their State of the Union guests.
Democrats hope to send a message to Republican lawmakers floating abortion restrictions by telling the stories of women who they believe will be impacted. Multiple also note that this is the first State of the Union since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.
Nevada Rep. Susie Lee, who will be bringing Misty Lee, a constituent whose abortion story she shared on the House floor following the overturn of Roe, voiced concern about the new Republican majority’s “extreme agenda” to advance federal restrictions.
“Misty and I will be sitting in the House chamber to remind Speaker McCarthy to keep his hands off our reproductive rights because it has real consequences for real women,” said Lee in a statement.
I am honored to have Misty as my guest to the State of the Union.
Tomorrow night, as @POTUS gives his first SOTU address since #Roe was overturned, Misty and I will be sitting in the House chamber to remind Speaker McCarthy to keep his hands off of our reproductive rights. https://t.co/5bDKud3xzn
— Congresswoman Susie Lee (@RepSusieLee) February 7, 2023
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, and Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean will also be bringing women who received abortions. (RELATED: Here’s What To Expect From Biden’s Second SOTU Address)
Wasserman describes her guest, Anabely Lopes, as a “victim of extreme MAGA Republican policies that focus on Florida culture war distractions and attacking women and minorities.”
Lopes reportedly traveled to Washington, D.C. last year for an abortion after finding out about “a deadly fetal anomaly” through genetic testing because she could not obtain the procedure in Florida.
Markey is bringing Kate Dineen, an abortion rights advocate who has been working to change Massachusetts state law so it no longer restricts abortion access after 24 weeks. Last year, she traveled to Maryland for an abortion after her son “suffered a catastrophic stroke in utero,” according to Markey’s news release.
Kelsey Leigh, former member of Planned Parenthood’s 2021 National Storytellers Board, a founding board member of the Pittsburgh Abortion Doulas non-profit and previous employee at the western Pennsylvania abortion clinic Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, will attend as Dean’s guest.
I’m grateful to welcome Kelsey Leigh, an abortion patient advocate, as my #StateOfTheUnion guest.
I met Kelsey as a State Rep. when she shared her difficult story publicly for the first time.
Her story is a reminder — abortion care is health care, a freedom we should all have. pic.twitter.com/vMjlZYE5v7
— Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (@RepDean) February 7, 2023
Leigh “chose to have an abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy after severe fetal anomalies were discovered on a routine ultrasound,” according to Dean’s office.
“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,” the press release explains.
Similarly, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth invited Dr. Erin King, the director of Illinois abortion provider Hope Clinic. Duckworth lauds the clinic for providing “support, resources, and empathy” and a “resource for women traveling from out of state.”
“I refuse to let my daughters grow up in a world with fewer rights than I had, and I won’t stop working to ensure reproductive freedoms are protected for all Americans,” Duckworth said.
Meanwhile, Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry will be hosting recently acquitted pro-life activist Mark Houck, who was targeted by the Biden Department of Justice on FACE Act and assault charges, as his guest, the Daily Signal reported.
“President Biden has weaponized the power of the federal government against anyone who thwarts his radical, Leftist agenda,” Perry told the Daily Signal. “He should see the faces of some of those Americans who have been relentlessly and unjustifiably persecuted by the same government sworn to protect their freedoms.”
Rep. Lee, Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Sen. Markey, Rep. Dean, and Sen. Duckworth did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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