Abortion activists who fear the U.S. Supreme Court could restore protections for unborn babies are sending coat hangers to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a possible swing vote on the next judicial nominee.
Collins, a Republican from Maine, leans pro-abortion, but she has consistently voted to confirm President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. Abortion activists hope the coat hangers, a symbol of dangerous, illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade, will persuade Collins to vote “no” on the next one, according to The Cut.
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement June 27, and Trump has promised to appoint a pro-life justice to the high court. Kennedy’s retirement means Trump will have the opportunity to appoint a justice who could swing the court conservative and be a deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade.
Collins has expressed doubts about Trump’s potential nominees, and abortion activists are lobbying her to oppose any judge who might restore protections for babies in the womb.
A number of abortion activists have posted messages on Collins’ Twitter page with photos of coat hangers and coat hanger orders addressed to her office, The Hill reports.
“Sent mine. You sent yours? ” one pro-abortion activist wrote on Twitter. Another included a photo of a coat hanger with the message, “Collins’s gift to women.”
“Nobody should trust what Collins says. I’m considering her a pro coat hanger Senator until she proves me wrong,” another person wrote. A fourth urged abortion activists to “shower these on her doorstep.”
Coat hangers are supposed to represent the dangers of making abortions illegal. Abortion activists claim women will resort to life-threatening methods, such as coat hangers, to abort their unborn babies if Roe v. Wade is overturned. However, research indicates very few women died of illegal abortions in the years leading up to Roe, and about 90 percent of illegal abortions were performed by physicians.
Collins is one of several U.S. Senators being lobbied by abortion activists to oppose Trump’s yet-to-be-named nominee.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the U.S. Senate with 51 members for Democrats’ 49, and the votes of Collins and U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another pro-abortion Republican, could determine whether Trump’s next nominee will be confirmed to the bench.
Collins has a mixed voting record on abortion. She did vote “yes” to confirm Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch; however, she has voiced skepticism about his list of potential nominees to fill Kennedy’s seat.
“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” Collins told CNN on Sunday, “because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law.”
The confirmation does not hinge on Murkowski and Collins alone. The U.S. Senate also has several moderately pro-life Democrats who voted to confirm Gorsuch. Vice President Mike Pence also can serve as a tie-breaking vote, as he has on other pro-life legislation in the past.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they will vote prior to the mid-term elections on Trump’s nominee. The president is expected to announce his choice July 9.
Pro-life advocates and other conservatives have praised Trump for the possible Supreme Court nominees on his list. He chose conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch from the list in 2017.
Last week, Trump promised to choose a nominee from the list of 25 conservative leaders, most of whom already are judges on federal circuit courts and state supreme courts.
ACTION: Contact U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.