(FiveNation.com)- Democrats were counting on the support of Republican Senator Susan Collins for their abortion rights bill, but they have lost it.
House Democrats are about to introduce legislation that would combat Texas’ new state ban on abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy. While they are likely to be successful in passing it through the lower chamber, it’s going to be a tough go in the Senate, which has a 50-50 split of political parties.
They were hoping to get a few Republicans on board who support abortion rights. One of those people was Collins, the senator from Maine. On Tuesday, though, she came out and said she doesn’t support the bill Democrats are proposing.
While the House is set to bring the bill to a vote soon — and it should pass — leaders in the Senate are still trying to figure out whether to even bring it up for a vote.
The bill’s author is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, from Connecticut. He says the bill would codify the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
While Collins is in support of abortion rights, she said briefly this week that the proposed bill in question goes too far. She says it interferes with existing law to ensure health professionals who object to abortion aren’t required to perform it.
“I support codifying Roe. Unfortunately, the bill … goes way beyond that. It would severely weaken the conscious exceptions that are in the current law.”
She also said she believes that some of the language included in the bill is “extreme.”
The Maine senator further said she believes the bill would end up weakening the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That piece of legislation protects people’s rights to exercise religion.
She further said that two of today’s Democratic leaders — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden — have in the past supported the act.
She followed up her original statement by saying:
“This ‘carve out’ would be unprecedented, and I do not believe it is necessary to codify Roe.”
Despite her stated opposition to Blumenthal’s abortion rights bill, Collins did say she’s talking with other members of the Senate to create a bill that “truly would codify Roe.”
One of the key provisions of the current proposed bill would ban states from interfering with or prohibition abortion through the measurement of viability. It would also prohibit states from requiring physicians to conduct extraneous tests or to hold specific credentials at hospitals nearby before they could perform an abortion.
Those last moves are seen as a way to combat some states’ recent limitations that have been placed on abortion.
While Democrats have often looked to Collins as a moderate Republican who they can count on when needed, this latest move could cloud their judgment of her.
They already didn’t like her for supporting Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing a few years ago, and now she won’t support their latest abortion rights bill.