Sen. Susan Collins inspired widespread backlash on Tuesday for calling the police over a message written in sidewalk chalk that asked the Republican to protect abortion rights — but Sen. Angus King, the other senator from Collins’ home state of Maine, has a very different perspective on sidewalk protests.
King, a moderate Independent, put up an Instagram post on Monday in which he criticized the new “unscalable” fence around the Supreme Court. The high court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that protects abortion access at the federal level, according to a draft majority opinion that was leaked last week.
“I find it deeply ironic that we now have an ‘unscalable’ fence around the Supreme Court when that same court in 2014 declared a 35’ safety buffer zone to protect workers and patients at Massachusetts abortion clinics unconstitutional as a constraint on free speech and the right to protest,” King wrote in his post. “Guess constitutionality depends upon whose life is at risk.”
The post, which was published hours before news broke that Collins had complained about a message written in chalk near her home, included a photo of the Supreme Court with the tall fence in front of it, as well as a sign that reads “sidewalk closed.” Security erected the fence in response to pro-choice protests in front of the building after the draft opinion leaked.
King’s post displays a stark difference in perspective from Collins, who called the police in Bangor on Saturday over a chalk drawing on a public sidewalk by her home. The chalk message asked her to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would guarantee abortion rights at the federal level if Supreme Court overturns Roe.
“Susie, please… Mainers want WHPA → vote yes, clean up your mess,” the message read.
HuffPost obtained the police report that confirmed Collins called the cops over the message.
Police said the chalk was neither a threat nor a complaint, and the city’s Public Works Department washed off the message with water.