Both of Maine’s U.S. senators say they support Congress strengthening Roe v. Wade protections after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to block a restrictive Texas law banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The restriction also allows anyone in Texas to sue people who provide abortions, as well as people who help someone get receive an abortion after that timeframe, with a defendant receiving as much as $10,000 in damages.
On Wednesday, Sen. Angus King — an independent who caucuses with the Democrats — and Republican Sen. Susan Collins explained that each of them supports the U.S. Senate and House drafting and passing a law that codifies the decision in the Roe case into law.
“I think it’s something we need to address,” King said during a media appearance at a Bath Iron Works training facility in Brunswick. “I know people are working on legislation. I haven’t seen any words on paper.”
Collins echoed King’s comments.
“I’ve talked with some of my colleagues in the Senate who are working on legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade,” she said. “I would support such legislation.”
Asked by NECN and NBC10 Boston if there was more she could say about those conversations, Collins replied that she thinks that’s “premature.”
“I don’t want to name names, but there is definitely discussion underway,” she added.
The comments followed a statement from Collins’ office criticizing Texas’ legislation last week.
“The Texas law is extreme and harmful,” the statement read. “The Supreme Court recognized that there are ‘serious questions’ regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law, and it emphasized that its recent ruling does not address those questions. I oppose the Court’s decision to allow the law to remain in effect for now while these underlying constitutional and procedural questions are litigated.”
Collins was a key vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, now a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, who decided in favor of not blocking the Texas law.
Collins, long considered a moderate Republican who is pro-choice, said after a two-hour meeting with Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation that he believes Roe v. Wade is “settled law.”
Pro-choice activists repeatedly staged protests against the senator when the confirmation process was underway with concerns that he would weaken the protections in the case if the opportunity to do so presented itself.
Collins’ media statement notes that she voted to confirm three justices who decided to block the Texas law, three who did not and that she voted against one, who decided not to block the restrictions.
“I’ve cast votes on seven of the nine justices on the Supreme Court. Of those I’ve voted to confirm, three voted with the majority and three voted with the minority,” she said. “The one I voted against voted with the majority.”