As a reminder of what could be at stake if President Donald Trump’s latest Supreme Court pick is confirmed, abortion rights activists have been sending Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) coat hangers for months.
A lot of coat hangers.
Around 3,000 have been delivered so far to the office of the senator, The Associated Press reported Saturday. Collins is considered to be a key vote in the upcoming confirmation vote for Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
Many supporters of abortion rights fear Kavanaugh would dismantle the landmark 1973 abortion case Roe v. Wade ― in no small part because that’s precisely what Trump promised during his campaign. Given the chance, Trump said, he would nominate judges to the Supreme Court who would significantly roll back Roe v. Wade. Collins, a centrist, supports abortion rights.
The hangers are symbols of a dangerous method for terminating a pregnancy used when abortion was illegal and many women resorted to risky procedures.
While Collins has vowed to oppose any Supreme Court candidate who “demonstrated hostility” to Roe v. Wade, whether she believes Kavanaugh has done so in his career remains unclear. She has declined to indicate publicly what her decision may be. Although Collins said Kavanaugh told her that he considered the case “settled law,” his critics are concerned about past rulings and an email he sent suggesting Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
Progressive groups are also running TV spots in Maine urging Collins to reject the judge, the AP noted.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another centrist generally supportive of abortion rights, has similarly not indicated which way she will vote. In addition to the issue posed by Kavanaugh’s abortion record, advocates for Native Alaskan groups have urged the senator to vote no, and Native Alaskans were key to Murkowski’s election.
Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing wrapped Friday after four contentious days that saw more than 200 protesters arrested.
Democrats on the committee made their opposition to the nominee ― and Republicans’ procedural decisions ― known from the moment Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) gaveled in the first day on Tuesday. Several senators interrupted Grassley to protest the withholding of well over 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh’s judicial record.