Sen. Susan Collins said she would oppose the Democrats’ abortion rights bill, likely dooming the legislation in the Senate, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Collins, one of the few Republicans in Congress that still support reproductive rights, told the Times that she will not support the Democrats’ bill to ban states from restricting abortion through fetal viability. Democrats say the bill is necessary to codify Roe v. Wade after the Trump-packed Supreme Court refused to block a near-total Texas abortion ban that violated the Roe precedent and other past decisions.
“I support codifying Roe. Unfortunately the bill … goes way beyond that. It would severely weaken the conscious exceptions that are in the current law,” Collins told the Times, calling parts of the bill “extreme.”
Collins said the legislation would weaken the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protects a person’s right to practice their religion, because the law ensures that health workers who object to abortion are not required to participate in the procedure.
“This ‘carve out’ would be unprecedented, and I do not believe it is necessary to codify Roe,” she said.
Collins added that she is talking with Senate colleagues on a different bill that “truly would codify Roe.”
Bill likely doomed in Senate:
The House is expected to advance the bill on Friday while Democratic Senate leaders are still debating whether to bring it to a vote.
Democrats say the bill is necessary to codify Roe ahead of a Supreme Court case that is scheduled for later this year that reproductive health advocates worry will undermine the precedent.
The bill would also ban states from requiring doctors to conduct extraneous tests before an abortion or requiring that doctors have credentials at a nearby hospital before they are able to perform the procedure.
Knives out for Collins:
Collins quickly came under fire on social media over her opposition. The longtime Senate moderate had previously drawn liberal scorn after supporting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, dismissing concerns that he would be a threat to abortion rights. Kavanaugh voted in favor of allowing the Texas law to take effect.
Collins defended Kavanaugh’s vote.
“People ought to read what the decision actually said. It said there’s serious constitutional and procedural issues which clearly the court is going to take up,” Collins told the Times. “I think we need to wait and see what happens.”