Maine Sen. Susan Collins is set to play a pivotal role in deciding whether to confirm President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Her vote will likely determine whether a woman’s right to choose abortion is effectively repealed, even if the Supreme Court does not explicitly overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Sen. Collins has stated that she will not support a nominee who is hostile to abortion rights. I urge Sen. Collins to thoroughly read Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent from a decision in a 2017 case in where the Trump administration attempted to prevent an undocumented minor from terminating an unwanted pregnancy. Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent appeared to honor the principles of Roe, but would have imposed stringent restrictions on the young woman’s ability to obtain an abortion so that it would have been close to impossible for her to have the procedure.

Kavanaugh agreed with the Trump administration’s options for Jane Doe – leave the country or find a sponsor – which were not real choices. They were intended to conceal the obvious fact that the government was prohibiting Doe from exercising her right to choose. (A majority of the Appeals Court ruled against the government.)

Make no mistake: If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Kavanaugh may not be openly hostile to Roe, and may not vote to explicitly overturn it. However, he very likely will vote in favor of severe state anti-abortion restrictions (closing all abortion clinics, for example) while arguing that they do not violate Roe’s prohibition against posing an undue barrier to abortion access.

Such a decision will state that Roe is still the law, but in practice, access to abortions will be nigh impossible.

I urge Sen. Collins to vote against the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.

Betsy Mahoney

board member, Maine Women’s Lobby

Cumberland Foreside

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