Planned Parenthood, whose history has been mixed when it comes to its feelings for Maine Sen. Susan Collins, has officially endorsed a potential Democratic opponent for her senate seat, Maine’s Speaker of the House Sara Gideon.
The decision to support a candidate running directly against Collins was announced on Tuesday, the day before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that made abortion a legal right across the entire country in 1973.
Planned Parenthood, as recently as three years ago, honored Collins with the Barry Goldwater Award, describing her as a lawmaker who “would protect her constituents’ access to health care” in their statement that year.
But recent choices in the Senate — including support for a controversial Supreme Court nominee — led the group to pull a “180” on how they felt about her.
“From her decisive vote to confirm Kavanaugh to her refusal to stop Republican attacks on our health and rights, it’s clear that she has turned her back on those she should be championing…[Collins] has abandoned not only the people of Maine, but women across the country,” the organization wrote, according to reporting from the Associated Press.
— Bangor Daily News (@bangordailynews) January 21, 2020
Collins is considered one of the most vulnerable senators in the nation at this moment. Recent polling from Morning Consult has found that she is the most unpopular senator in the nation (from their respective home states), surpassing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously held the title according to reporting from USA Today.
Collins currently has a 52 percent disapproval rating in Maine.
Gideon, who announced her intention to run against Collins in June 2019, welcomed the endorsement from Planned Parenthood.
“There’s never been a more important time to stand up for reproductive rights,” Gideon said in a statement regarding the group backing her over Collins.