Susan Collins actually said she's 'not sure' why states are attacking abortion rights — proving how deliberately clueless she really is

Susan Collins actually said she's 'not sure' why states are attacking abortion rights — proving how deliberately clueless she really is
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (Image via Screengrab) and Sen. Susan Collins (Image via Wikimedia Commons).
The Right Wing

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Monday delivered a stunning assessment on the deluge of anti-abortion laws in the United States, claiming she’s “not sure exactly why we're seeing this happen.”

Last week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed into law the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States, making any abortion a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The bill makes no consideration for incest or rape. Ivey, in a statement, called the law “a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

In an interview with Maine CBS affiliate WGME on Monday, Collins — who claims to be pro-choice — called the law “extreme,” insisting she’s unsure why states like Alabama are working unto undermine a woman’s right to choose.

"Abortion remains a very contentious issue in the country,” Collins said. “And people have heartfelt views on both sides of the issue. I’m not sure exactly why we're seeing this happen but most of the laws are not as extreme as Alabama’s. Alabama seems to have gone further than any other state.”

"Senator Collins says she can't imagine a court upholding some of the recent abortion laws without disregarding important precedents such as Roe v. Wade," WGME reports.

It’s a stunning statement from Collins, considering the reason “why we’re seeing this happen” has everything to do with the senator from Maine, who announced last October she would vote yes to confirm conservative Federalist Society member Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

In an elaborate speech explaining her decision in favor of Kavanaugh, Collins sought to reassure the public that Roe v. Wade would be safe with a conservative Supreme Court:

There has also been considerable focus on the future of abortion rights based on the concern that Judge Kavanaugh would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protecting this right is important to me. To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article 3 of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent is not just a judicial policy, it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent. In other words, precedent isn’t a goal or an aspiration. It is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Noting that Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago and reaffirmed 19 years later in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, I asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of time is relevant to following precedent. He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence.

Kavanaugh’s stated allegiance to precedent came crashing down when, earlier this month, he joined conservatives on the Court in affirming Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt. As The National Law Journal notes, in that case the majority “explicitly overturned a 40-year-old precedent, Nevada v. Hall.”

The reversal of precedent was so striking that, in his dissent, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer issued a stark warning about which laws the majority might work to overturn next:

Each time the court overrules a case, the court produces increased uncertainty. To overrule a sound decision like Hall is to encourage litigants to seek to overrule other cases; it is to make it more difficult for lawyers to refrain from challenging settled law; and it is to cause the public to become increasingly uncertain about which cases the court will overrule and which cases are here to stay.

Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next.

For Collins to claim she’s "not sure exactly why" the Alabama law was passed, she has to blatantly ignore the words of Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition who the New York Times reports “has spent more than 30 years trying to ban abortion.”

Per the Times:

Given the current leanings of the Supreme Court, Mr. Johnston said, making such a measure, which does not directly challenge Roe, the subject of the court’s next major abortion case would be a wasted opportunity.

“Why not go all the way?” he asked.

In fact, the very Alabama legislators who stripped exceptions for rape and incest from the bill (even as state Democrats engaged in a shouting match with their Republican colleagues over the move), did so with the specific — and expressed — intent to take the bill to the Supreme Court.

"Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that's when we as government have to step in,” Alabama Republican Clyde Chambliss, the Senate sponsor of the abortion ban, told NPR.

In summary, Senator Collins, the reason “why we’re seeing this happen” in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere, is because of you. Americans may have “heartfelt” views on abortion, as you said, but it remains to be seen whether Maine voters will feel quite so “heartfelt” when they vote on your reelection in 2020.

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