While I personally like to imagine that police officers in Bangor, Maine, pass their time simply by posting memes about the department’s ‘Duck of Justice’ on Facebook and stuffing stale donuts into their strained pockets for later, two harrowing tragedies actually occurred in the greater Bangor region this weekend: On Saturday night—within the span of one hour—an alleged drunk driver collided with a motorcyclist who was pronounced dead on the scene, and someone doodled a polite message about abortion on the sidewalk in front of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) home with chalk, a notoriously water-soluble medium. Both resulted in police investigations.
That’s correct: Collins well and truly called the cops over a note on the *public* sidewalk in front of her home asking her to please codify Roe v. Wade, instead of simply, say, hosing it off or better yet, ignoring it and waiting for the next rainfall.
“Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —–> vote yes, clean up your mess,” the aggressively non-threatening message read, according to a Bangor police report. WHPA refers to The Women’s Health Protection Act, which—if passed—would codify the right to abortion into federal law. Let’s take a look at this deeply criminal sidewalk abomination:
In February, Collins infamously voted against the advancement of the Women’s Health Protection Act, after asserting that it went “too far” months earlier. The WHPA didn’t get the opportunity to die on the Senate floor, while Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced an opposing bill that would codify Roe v. Wade yet allow states to deny abortion care following fetal viability (23-24 weeks), a failed concept that actually puts pregnant people at greater risk.
“If their rights are secondary to the fetus, or at odds with the fetus, that lends to an environment in which violence—whether it’s state violence like imprisonment, or interpersonal violence—can be committed against pregnant people with far less accountability,” an advocate told Jezebel in March.
After Politico published a leaked majority opinion draft revealing the Supreme Court intended on overturning Roe, Collins caught deserved flack after suggesting she’d somehow been duped by Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the upcoming ruling: “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 in a statement.
Also taking place over the weekend, Kavanaugh’s own neighbors and abortion rights protesters gathered outside his Maryland home, swaths of pissed off people practically lined Chief Justice Roberts’ street and by Monday night, Alito’s home became the site of a vigil of over 100 protestors and an apparent wine and cheese mixer for journalists. Hours later—in a true testament to how effective the Senate is when it concerns protecting the cowards its comprised of—a security bill for Supreme Court justices’ family members was promptly passed. Any federal legislation to protect abortion rights has quite predictably been held up. Very relieved their neighbors will get to drive their Teslas to work in peace now though!
Meanwhile, of the vibrant vandalism on Collins’ sidewalk—which was removed by Monday morning, according to the Bangor Daily News—the senator said: “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.”
Frankly, it’s rich that the very people hellbent on ensuring not a one of us get any semblance of privacy or bodily autonomy are simultaneously—and shamelessly—prioritizing their own supposed safety from chalk drawings and conflating peaceful protest with violence. As Jezebel’s Kylie Cheung wrote this week:
“Violence is children going to bed hungry in a country that refuses to tax billionaires. Violence is a higher education system so wildly unaffordable that predominantly poor people of color have no other viable options but to enlist in the US military, into which the US poured $801 billion last year alone. And violence is sure as hell the highest maternal mortality rate among wealthy nations, higher maternal mortality rates in states with more abortion restrictions, Black women being 243% more likely than white women to die from pregnancy and birth-related complications.”
No one asked, but here’s my advice to protestors everywhere, and especially in Bangor, Maine: For fuck’s sake, don’t say please next time.