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Sen. Susan Collins criticizes conservative justices after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade 05:05

Sen. Susan Collins called the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday an "ill-considered action" and criticized the conservative justices who supported the decision. "Throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative," the Maine Republican said in a statement. 

Collins, who supports abortion rights and faced criticism for her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, is one of the two Republican senators who introduced legislation in February that would strengthen abortion rights and codify Roe vs. Wade into law. Following the Supreme Court's decision, which will usher in new rules limiting or banning access to abortion in half of the states — in some places immediately — Collins criticized the justices who supported the decision.

"The Supreme Court has abandoned a 50-year precedent at a time that the country is desperate for stability," she said. "This ill-considered action will further divide the country at a moment when, more than ever in modern times, we need the Court to show both consistency and restraint."

Collins said the decision was a "sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to political chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government."

"This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon," she said of two of President Donald Trump's appointees to the court. Collins also voted to confirm Gorsuch. 

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion for the court, and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division," Alito wrote in his majority opinion, referring to the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed the abortion rights in Roe. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a concurring opinion, writing that while he agrees that the viability line established under Roe should be discarded and Mississippi's law upheld, Roe and Casey should be left untouched. The court's three liberal justices dissented.

Earlier this year, Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, introduced the Reproductive Choice Act to codify the abortion rights established by Roe and Casey, both of which were overturned by the Supreme Court's decision Friday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. Collins said she is also working on a similar bipartisan bill with Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia. 

"Our goal with this legislation is to do what the Court should have done — provide the consistency in our abortion laws that Americans have relied upon for 50 years," she said Friday.

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