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 TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE's next Supreme Court nominee announced its first ad buy Tuesday targeting Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase 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. 

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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 MurkowskiGOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff Graham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet Trump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear MORE (Alaska). 

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“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 DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Enhanced infrastructure plan is the best way to go 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 McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden 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.