After coming under renewed attack for her 2018 vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins defended the move on Wednesday and said she believes that she will be re-elected in November.
The latest barrage aimed at Collins comes in the wake of the 5-4 decision of the court that struck down a Louisiana law restricting abortion. The law required abortion providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges, but critics, including Democrats national abortion rights groups, say it was designed to shut down clinics and make it more difficult for individuals to get an abortion.
Collins said Kavanaugh’s dissenting vote has been misinterpreted by her political opponents.
“My opponents have tried to suggest that this opinion is an indication of how certain justices would vote on the question of overturning Roe v. Wade,” Collins said.
Collins said she remains convinced that Roe v. Wade will stand as what she calls “settled law.”
But Nicole Clegg, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, whose parent has endorsed House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, in her race to oust Collins, said Monday’s narrow court ruling represents a close call for the rights of women in the United States.
“If Justice Kavanaugh had had his way, this law would have gone into effect, access to abortion would have been dramatically restricted in the state of Louisiana, and it would have opened the door for other states to do the same thing,” Clegg said.
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Clegg said that polling has shown strong support for a woman’s right to choose, and that voters understand that the courts could undermine that right. She said Collins should be fully aware that her confirmation votes for anti-choice judges are a major reason that her popularity has slipped with Maine voters.
Collins acknowledged that polls do show that her popularity has declined, but she said that is to be expected given the money that is being put behind the national Democratic Party’s effort to take control of the Senate.
“Dark money allies of Sara Gideon have spent more than $20 million defaming my good name, attacking my integrity and distorting and outright lying about my record,” she said.
Gideon still has to win a three-way primary in July for the Democratic nomination, but is a well-financed front runner in that contest against Hallowell lobbyist Betsy Sweet and Saco lawyer Bre Kidman.
Collins said she believes Maine voters will see through all of the negative ads and re-elect her in the fall.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.