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Chalk message for abortion rights causes stir outside Senator Susan Collins’s Maine home

Maine Senator Susan Collins.J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Demonstrators scrawled an abortion rights chalk message across the sidewalk outside US Senator Susan Collins’s Bangor, Maine, home over the weekend, according to authorities.

A partially redacted Bangor police report identified the complainant by name, but the Globe is withholding the name at the request of law enforcement. The Bangor Daily News previously reported that police responded to Collins’s address.

According to the report, police responded to a home on West Broadway at 9:20 p.m. Saturday for “an information complaint.” The report said a person, whose name’s redacted, “found a chalk message on the sidewalk” pertaining to an upcoming vote in Congress.

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The report said the message, written in different chalk colors, said “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA -----> vote yes, clean up your mess.”

The acronym refers to the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify abortion rights into federal law as Democrats mount their response to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Collins, a centrist Republican, has voiced opposition to the bill.

“It should be noted I conducted a property check on the residence at approximately 2000hrs,” the police report on the chalk message said. “I didn’t see the chalk or anybody in the area around the residence.”

The chalk the officer saw during the later response to the home “looked relatively fresh like it had been done recently,” the report said. Officers left their contact information and advised the homeowners to reach out if they needed further information, according to the report.

“I called dispatch and asked that they let Public Works know to come wash the chalk off the sidewalk,” the report said.

Collins has said she supports abortion rights, but argued that the WHPA fails to protect antiabortion providers from having to perform the procedure.

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“It supersedes all other federal and state laws, including the conscience protections that are in the Affordable Care Act,” Collins told reporters at the US Capitol. She had been asked at the time whether she is in favor of the bill authored by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the Washington Post reported.

In a statement Tuesday, a Bangor police Sergeant Wade Betters, a department spokesperson, said no crime was committed in the chalk incident and that police “have not yet identified the person(s) responsible for writing the message. No photos, or further information will be released.”

The message, Betters said, “was washed away by our public works department.”

Collins told the Bangor Daily News, “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.”

Globe voice and e-mail messages left with Collins’s office weren’t immediately returned.

Collins has assailed the draft opinion to strike down Roe. In a recent statement, the five-term Republican reasserted that Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, following their nominations by Donald Trump, had both told her they did not believe in tampering with the legal precedent set by the Roe ruling in 1973.

“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” Collins said.

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The Bangor news comes as activists on Monday night gathered outside Justice Samuel Alito’s northern Virginia home to speak out against the draft ruling, NBC News reported.

This is a breaking news story that will be updated when more information becomes available. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Material from prior Globe stories also was used.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.