Opinion: It’s time for Susan Collins to Act on Women’s Rights

Maine’s very own Senator Susan Collins has found herself in the middle of the debate surrounding the state of Roe v. Wade in America. Collins called police on Saturday night after seeing “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA. Vote yes, clean up your mess,” written outside of her Bangor home in chalk. The dot above “i” in Mainers was replaced with a drawing of a uterus and fallopian tubes.

The WHPA is the Women’s Health Protection Act, and would codify the right of abortion into federal law. Collins voted agains it in February, citing that an anti-abortion doctor could not be exempt for religious reasons. The WHPA failed in the Senate 48-46. Now, the act takes on a whole new meaning after the leak of a draft where the Supreme Court would be overturning Roe v. Wade.

On Wednesday, a modified version of the WHPA will be voted on by congress. I believe that if Collins is the “moderate” she describes herself as, then it is imperative that she votes yes this time. Let’s not forget that Collins supported some of the nominations to the Supreme Court that are allowing this to happen. Collins may have voted against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, but earlier in Donald Trump’s presidency she voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

In a written statement last Tuesday, Collins said that the draft was “completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office.” More than 230 Maine Lawyers warned Collins that Kavanaugh’s judicial record showed ideological hostility towards Row, but Collins still chose to vote for his nomination, and was the 50th and deciding vote towards it.

Governor Janet Mills tweeted last Monday voicing her support for Roe v. Wade. “I want to be clear: unlike an apparent majority of the Supreme Court, I do not consider the rights of women to be disposable,” said Mills. “As long as I am Governor, I will fight with everything I have to protect reproductive rights and to preserve access to reproductive health care.”

Maine is lucky to have laws that protect the right to abortion, but not every state is as fortunate. Thirteen states in the U.S. have no laws to protect the right to abortion. The states – Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma – have passed so called “trigger laws” that will make abortion a crime if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

45% of abortions are unsafe, and 97% of those happen in developing countries where there is a lack of access to safe, affordable, and timely abortion care, according to the World Health Organization. It’s important to recognize that if abortion is outlawed, safe abortions are outlawed. Unsafe ones that can result in death and morbidities are free to carry on.

Senator Susan Collins, the choice is up to you. I know I will remember your decision on the WHPA when 2026 comes along.

Categories: OpEd

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