Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement Monday that she agreed with the Supreme Court decision to repeal Louisiana’s draconian abortion law, adding that while conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh sided with from the minority, his opinion “gave no indication” that he would revoke Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country.
“Some have tried to suggest that this view is an indication that certain judges would now vote on the question of whether abortion is still legal. That is reading too much into this specific decision,” said Collins, almost the last nominally pro-choice Republican. in national politics
“As Judge Gorsuch noted, ‘Truly, Roe v. Wade is not even in question here,'” Collins continued. “And while Judge Kavanaugh asked for additional facts to be uncovered in the case, he gave no indication in his dissenting opinion that he supports the overthrow of Roe.”
Collins, who won four consecutive Senate races in Maine, is following Democratic challenger Sara Gideon in a campaign chased by her 2018 vote to confirm Kavanaugh, despite credible allegations of sexual assault and a common understanding of that he would vote to overthrow Roe v. Wade, and was actually chosen specifically for that purpose.
Prior to that vote, Collins said he believed Kavanaugh would respect Roe’s precedent and not erode women’s reproductive rights.
At the time, Collins argued that she “could not vote for a judge who had shown hostility towards Roe v Wade because it would indicate a lack of respect for the precedent. He considers the precedent … to be ingrained in our Constitution.”
The decision appears to have cost him politically, particularly among women, that Gideon quickly exploded on Monday.
“Do you still think Brett Kavanaugh believes Roe v. Wade is an established law, @SenSusanCollins?” Gideon tweeted on Monday.
In fact, the infamous mugwump was predictably swept up on social media after news of the decision broke.
“Everyone who voted badly, we go for you,” tweeted Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and named Collins among four other Republican senators considered particularly vulnerable: Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis from North Carolina and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina.
Within hours, NARAL had released a compilation of Collins’ claims that Kavanaugh would uphold the precedent set in Roe.
But it was Kavanaugh who broke with precedents in the Louisiana decision, deviating from the 2016 court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
The 5-4 ruling on Monday rejected a new Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admission privileges at nearby hospitals. Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic had sued to repeal the law, arguing that only one doctor at a clinic could provide abortion services to nearly 10,000 women per year.
“This is a victory for the people of Louisiana and the rule of law, but this case should never have gone so far,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who represented the medical clinic in the case.
“We won an identical case four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and the fact that we had to fight so hard again shows that nothing should be taken for granted when it comes to protecting abortion rights,” she said.
Collins has become increasingly targeted for attacks by outside groups who feel he is vulnerable, such as the Lincoln Project, a PAC of Republican agents who have never been Trump and who have posted ads in recent months exhorting Collins for betraying his electorate.
Republican groups also seem to smell fear. A dark money group affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and poll strategist Karl Rove has spent at least $ 1 million defending Collins’s seat since January. That month, Collins ousted McConnell in public opinion polls as the most unpopular member of the United States Senate.