Politics

Just Wait Until You See the Terrifying “Defacement” of Susan Collins’ Sidewalk by Pro-Choice Activists

It’s chalk.

Side by side images show the words "Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA. Vote yes, clean up your mess" in colorful chalk on a sidewalk.
Evidence of the depraved crime. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos via Instagram.

On Monday, the Bangor Daily News reported that police had responded to Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ home in Bangor, Maine, at 9:20 p.m. on Saturday night because of what the senator, in a statement, described as “the defacement of public property.”

Collins has long described herself as a supporter of abortion rights, but voted to confirm Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh despite abundant evidence that they would overturn Roe v. Wade if given the chance. Given that those jurists appear to be on the verge of, in fact, overturning Roe v. Wade—Alito wrote the leaked draft of the opinion that would do so—there has been some disappointment circulating regarding Collins in the pro-choice community.

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Such was the very gently expressed message of the “defacement,” which was written in what appears to be pink, blue, and yellow chalk on the sidewalk in front of Collins’ home. It said “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —> vote yes, clean up your mess.”

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[Read: Susan Collins Knew Exactly What She Was Doing]

WHPA is the Women’s Health Protection Act. It would guarantee the right to an abortion until the point of fetal viability in federal law. Collins has voted against the bill in the past and is expected to do so again on Wednesday, when it will be brought up by Senate Democrats to highlight Republicans’ position on Roe. Polling appears to show that such a guarantee would be supported by a majority of the public, but it is expected to fail because it lacks the 60-vote support in the Senate that would be needed to override a filibuster.

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Since Alito’s draft opinion was leaked, protests have taken place outside his and Kavanaugh’s suburban homes. Although there have not been any reported incidents of violence or vandalism at the protests, some elected Democrats have responded to them with alarm: The Senate quickly passed a bill providing police protection to justices’ family members, while on Monday White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that “judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”

It’s in this context that Collins, according to the Bangor Daily News report, complained to police about sidewalk chalk. (Officers summoned a public works employee to wash it off but are not otherwise pursuing the matter.) A source close to the chalking says that two people were involved in its execution and that Collins’ husband, a longtime Republican staffer and lobbyist named Thomas Daffron, delivered a personal “scolding” to them while it was being written.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, more chalk messages were left, including one that said: “You might not recognize our right to free speech, but I hope you recognize my right to an abortion.” Daffron told the Bangor paper that he has not alerted authorities to the presence of the new slogans.

Read more of Slate’s coverage on abortion rights here.

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