Abortion rights group targets Susan Collins in first Supreme Court ad buy

Abortion rights group targets Susan Collins in first Supreme Court ad buy
© Greg Nash

An abortion rights group leading the fight on the left against President TrumpDonald John TrumpLady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity Bob Woodward: I’m 'thankful’ I don’t have to cover Russia probe on 'daily basis' MORE's next Supreme Court nominee announced its first ad buy Tuesday targeting Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Maine), who is expected to be a key vote in the confirmation battle. 

NARAL Pro-Choice America announced full page print ads and "homepage takeovers" of four Maine newspapers and websites: the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, Bangor Daily News and Lewiston Sun Journal. The ads begin Wednesday. 

The campaign will also include digital ads on Twitter and Google Search. 

The print and online ads state: "Trump has been loud and clear in saying he'd pick Supreme Court Justices to end Roe v. Wade. We believe him. Don't you, Senator Collins?" 

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced last week that he would retire, opening up a spot on the bench for the anti-abortion justice Trump promised conservatives he would nominate. 

Kennedy has been a swing vote on the bench ruling in favor of abortion rights for 30 years. 

But anti-abortion groups hope the Supreme Court will revisit Roe v. Wade within the next few years, likely through one of the abortion cases working its way through the federal courts now.

Liberal groups have seized on the threat to Roe v. Wade to pressure Senate Democrats to vote against the Trump nominee and to flip two Republicans: Collins and Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Kaine to force Senate to hold rare Saturday session amid shutdown MORE (Alaska). 

“Donald Trump has been crystal clear. He has a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominee: end Roe v. Wade. He said it repeatedly during his campaign. We believe him. For the sake of women in Maine, and across the country, we hope Senator Collins does too," NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement Tuesday. 

"We know that Senator Collins has always said she would protect the fundamental right to privacy for women and families enshrined in Roe, and we know that now more than ever Mainers want her to stand strong," Hogue said. "Donald Trump has been clear that his agenda is to gut Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortion and punishing women." 

Collins has faced mounting pressure from grass-roots groups and groups on the left since Kennedy's announcement last week, even though Trump has not yet named a nominee to replace him.

Collins said Sunday on CNN that she would not support a nominee who has demonstrated "hostility" to Roe v. Wade "because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law." 

All Democrats need to vote "no" to have a chance at sinking Trump's nominee in the Senate, which could be a hard ask of red-state Democrats up for reelection in November.

Three — Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Senate approves funding bill, preventing partial government shutdown MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Centrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Bipartisan group of senators will urge Trump to reopen government for 3 weeks MORE (W.Va.) — voted to Justice Neil Gorsuch last year. 

Two Republican senators would also need to vote "no" against Trump's nominee for the nomination to fail. However, with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Mark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally MORE (R-Ariz.) away from Congress as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, Republicans' effective majority is 50-49. If he isn't present for a confirmation vote, only one would Republican would need to defect to sink the nomination.

Liberal groups have set their sights on Collins and Murkowski, who identify as pro-abortion rights Republicans. 

"The burden of proof is on the nominee to prove that they will proactively protect Roe v. Wade and until they do, no senator, and particularly no senators who consider themselves pro-choice, should vote for the nominee," Hogue said. 

"Too much is on the line to not believe Donald Trump will do exactly what he said he’d do."

Hogue told reporters in a press call last week NARAL and its partners were prepared to invest millions in the Supreme Court fight.