As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a Mississippi abortion ban, a review which could lead the bench to overturn Roe v. Wade, moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins said she supports an effort to codify the right to abortion into law.
“Senator Collins supports the right to an abortion and believes that the protections in the Roe and Casey decisions should be passed into law. She has had some conversations with her colleagues about this and is open to further discussions,” a spokeswoman for Collins, Annie Clark, told NBC News Wednesday.
Collins’ statement comes after the House passed a bill, called the Women’s Health Protection Act, in September to eliminate various state-level restrictions on abortion in a move to enshrine Roe v. Wade in law. The legislation, which House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy deemed “radical,” would mandate that states allow abortion of an unborn baby viable outside the womb if a medical provider concludes that the abortion is necessary to a woman’s health.
Collins says she opposes this Democrat-led bill, which is struggling to garner votes in the Senate. In late September, Collins called the Democrats’ proposal “extreme,” telling the LA Times that “this ‘carve out’ would be unprecedented, and I do not believe it is necessary to codify Roe.”
Rather, Collins wants to see a bill with a narrower scope that does not penalize physicians who deny the procedure based on objections of faith or personal conscience.
“Unfortunately, the House Democrats’ bill goes far beyond codifying Roe and Casey. For example, their legislation would severely weaken protections afforded to health care providers who refuse to perform abortions on religious or moral grounds,” Clark said.
On Wednesday, the high court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case which legal scholars predict could upend the legally tenuous decision in Roe v. Wade. If the bench rules in favor of the Mississippi law prohibiting abortions before 15 weeks of pregnancy, which lies at the heart of the case, it must naturally nullify Roe, which allowed abortions before fetal viability at 24-28 weeks of gestation.