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Critics Pile Onto Susan Collins for Enabling Texas Anti-Abortion Law

Susan Collins – the Republican senior United States Senator from Maine – assured a wary public in 2018 that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh viewed Roe versus Wade as settled law before she and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia cast the deciding votes to confirm Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law,” Collins announced after her meeting with Kavanaugh. “He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing, in which he said that it was settled law.”

But the Court’s 5-4 ruling last week allowing Texas’s grotesque vigilante-enforced abortion ban to stand proved that to be completely false, and has reignited fierce criticism of Collins and her willingness to put partisan politics above women’s health and reproductive freedom.

“The Texas law is extreme and harmful. The Supreme Court recognized that there are ‘serious questions’ regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law, and it emphasized that its recent ruling does not address those questions. I oppose the Court’s decision to allow the law to remain in effect for now while these underlying constitutional and procedural questions are litigated,” Collins said last week. “I’ve cast votes on seven of the nine justices on the Supreme Court. Of those I’ve voted to confirm, three voted with the majority, and three voted with the minority.”

Given her support of Kavanaugh, however, those words are vacuous at best and insincere at worst.

“What an appalling insult to our intelligence. No contrition, no sign of responsibility,” conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin tweeted in response.

“Remember when Susan Collins said she was convinced that Brett Kavanaugh believed a woman’s right to choose was ‘settled law?’ She was wrong. Women in Texas must pay the price for her gullibility,” said author Stephen King, a Mainer.

Indeed, the Texas Heartbeat Act – which bans abortions after six weeks and deputizes civilians [who are now allowed to be armed] to stalk, sue, and collect bounties on anyone who assists an individual looking to terminate a pregnancy – has already laid the groundwork for similar legislation in other GOP-led states such as Florida and South Dakota.

Correspondent John Nichols noted in The Nation on Friday that “Collins has so far failed to acknowledge that her advocacy for former President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the court cleared the way for this new avenue of assault on reproductive rights.”

Marie Follayttar, the director and co-founder of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, agreed.

“These are Susan Collins’s judges and therefore her legacy,” Follayttar said in a statement to The Nation.

Collins “will forever be the U.S. Senator who deliberately misled a nation and her constituents in a 43-minute self-righteous Senate floor speech where she asserted that she believed Brett M. Kavanaugh’s commitment to settled law and condemned the advocacy of scared and committed constituents” and has “led us to the point where our bodily autonomy and foundational rights are at risk and where pregnant Texans risk a gun-toting bounty hunter coming after them and their families for having an abortion,” Follayttar said.

Nichols added that “no matter how she covers her tracks now, no matter what she says about the extremism of the Texas decision, Collins cannot be allowed to casually escape responsibility for her actions.”



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