A Republican US senator called local police to investigate a pro-abortion rights – but otherwise harmless – message written in chalk in front of her home, according to authorities.
The Maine senator Susan Collins called officers last Saturday evening to complain about an anonymous message written in chalk on a sidewalk just outside her residence in Bangor that asked her to support abortion rights legislation, according to a police report that was obtained by the Guardian.
The chalk art, described in the police report as “intricately drawn” and non-threatening, read: “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —–> vote yes, clean up your mess.” WHPA refers to the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights.
In the report, police wrote that they did not notice anything suspicious around Collins’s residence. They also said that the chalk message did not constitute a crime.
A Bangor public works department employee later went to Collins’s home to wash off the chalk message.
The senator provided a statement to the Bangor Daily News, which first reported on the chalk message, saying, “We are grateful to the Bangor police officers and the city public works employee who responded to the defacement of public property in front of our home.”
With last week’s leak of a draft opinion showing that the US supreme court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark decision which legalized abortion, Collins has faced criticism from voters for helping block the advancement of the WHPA to the Senate floor for debate in February.
The Senate plans to again vote on potentially advancing the WHPA this Wednesday.
Collins has signaled she plans to again oppose the WHPA, which would need 60 votes to advance, a threshold that most doubt the bill will clear. She, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a fellow Republican, has introduced a different bill that would codify abortion rights while still allowing individual states to roll back protections.
Collins has also been criticized for backing the confirmation of the supreme court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who form part of the court’s conservative majority that supports overturning Roe v Wade, according to the leaked draft opinion.
After the leak, Collins sought to distance herself from Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, issuing a statement decrying the two justices as being “completely inconsistent” with what they said during their confirmation hearings or in conversations with her.
Collins suggested both had indicated they would not support overturning Roe v Wade.
“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision … it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” Collins’ statement said.