Susan Collins swears she's 'pro-choice' despite hundreds of votes that say otherwise


Donald Trump promised to appoint 'pro-life' judges. Susan Collins has voted to confirm nearly all of them.

Trailing in her reelection race, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) claimed Friday to be pro-choice and suggested that abortion is a "settled" issue. But she has voted to confirm dozens of Donald Trump's anti-abortion judicial nominees.

"I am pro-choice and I've always been pro-choice," Collins said in a Maine Public Radio interview. "I think of this as more of a constitutional issue that was settled some 47 or however many years ago, and reaffirmed in Casey v. Planned Parenthood."

But the right to an abortion is very much in flux, as Trump seeks to ram through his nomination of anti-abortion Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the November election. If confirmed, she will give conservatives a 6-to-3 majority on the high court.

As a candidate in 2016, Trump made it clear that he would seek to eliminate abortion rights through his judicial appointments. "I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges," he said in one of his debates against Hillary Clinton. "If we put another two or perhaps three justices on [the Supreme Court], that is really what will happen. That will happen automatically in my opinion."

In a speech to the anti-abortion March for Life in January, he bragged that he had kept his word as part of his "historic action" to "protect the unborn."

"To uphold our founding documents, we have confirmed 187 federal judges," Trump said, "who apply the Constitution as written, including two phenomenal Supreme Court justices: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh."

As of September, that number has grown to more than 215 judicial appointees. Collins has voted to confirm nearly every one of them.

This includes dozens of judges who worked to undermine abortion rights before their confirmation or after joining the federal bench.

According to the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, a progressive judicial advocacy group, Collins voted for 11 of the 15 Trump judicial nominees with the worst records on reproductive health.

Collins voted for both of Trump's Supreme Court justices and, despite clear indications that both were anti-abortion, argued that they would preserve Roe v. Wade.

Both have already voted to uphold unconstitutional abortion rights restrictions since their confirmations.

In June 2019, a spokesperson for the senator told HuffPo that Collins does not consider judicial nominees' "personal beliefs, political or otherwise," but does "evaluate whether a nominee can set aside these beliefs and rule fairly and impartially."

In a debate in September against her Democratic challenger, Maine state House Speaker Sara Gideon, and two independent candidates, Collins claimed that she has been "remarkably consistent" by voting to confirm nearly all of the judges that have come up for Senate votes since 1997.

Polls show Collins trailing Gideon by an average of 3.7 points as she seeks a fifth term in the Senate.

A spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has endorsed Gideon after once backing Collins in the past, said in a statement released to the media Friday that Collins' comments do not jibe with her record: "What's clear is that Susan Collins knowingly sold out women and families in Maine and across the country to score political points. Now she is trying to mask her betrayal. Susan Collins will continue to try to rewrite history...but her record speaks for itself."

A spokesperson for Collins did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.