Sen. Susan Collins called police Saturday night upon discovering an abortion rights message written in red, white and blue chalk on the sidewalk outside her Bangor home.

“Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —–> vote yes, clean up your mess” the message said. The dot in the “i” of Mainers was replaced with a drawing of a uterus and fallopian tubes in red.

Officers went to the home and filed a report, but the chalk message was deemed not to be a crime.

The Women’s Health Protection Act, or WHPA, would codify the right to an abortion into federal law. Collins, a self-described pro-choice moderate, voted against WHPA in February because it did not allow religious exemptions for anti-abortion doctors.


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Although it passed in the House, WHPA failed in the Senate 48-46. But that was before the draft opinion leaked last week of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade. WHPA is likely to come back up for a second Senate vote Wednesday.

Collins is facing tremendous public backlash for supporting the nominations of the justices who are tipping the court far enough to the right to overturn Roe v. Wade, especially Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who Collins said she believed would leave Roe untouched.


Advocates who are upset because they believe Collins allowed herself to be duped – or voted for them to avoid a Republican primary during her 2020 re-election bid even though she knew they’d be likely to overturn Roe – have been pushing her to vote in favor of WHPA this time around.

The sidewalk message has since been erased by a city public works employee, but the Bangor police were called at 9:20 p.m. Saturday and a police report was filed. On Tuesday, a police spokesman said no crime had been committed and police have “not yet identified the person(s) responsible.”

The city police want to know who wrote the message in case the situation escalates into a real threat in the future, the department said. City police often share even non-threatening messages to Collins with U.S. Capitol Police, the D.C.-based law enforcement agency that handles security for members of Congress.

In 2018, a Burlington woman mailed an envelope to Collins’ Bangor home containing white powder and a letter falsely claiming the substance was anthrax. The letter was intercepted by the U.S. Postal Service. Two years later, the woman got 30 months in prison for mailing a threatening communication.

Collins’ office issued a statement Tuesday evening regarding security around the senator’s Bangor home and the chalk drawn pro-abortion messages on sidewalks outside her residence.

“Because Senator Collins periodically gets threatening letters and phone calls, we have been advised by Capitol Police to notify the local police department when there is activity directed at her around her home,” her staff said in a statement.


Her staff provided two examples of instances from the past when she notified local and Capitol Police. One involved a threatening letter that mentioned Israel and the second a threatening voice mail message regarding her vote to support the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

More chalk messages calling for Collins to stand up for abortion rights appeared on the sidewalk in front of her home late Tuesday morning, according to her husband, Tom Daffron.

Daffron told the Bangor Daily News that he did not call police about the new messages. He also said Collins called police Saturday because she has received death threats in the past and was advised to report anything unusual to Bangor police.

Collins told the Bangor Daily News that what happened Saturday was a defacement of public property. In the past, Bangor police have concluded writing non-threatening chalk messages on public sidewalks was not criminal, but the protected exercise of the right to free speech.

In 2020, the police were called out to Pickering Square when a local church group wrote anti-gay chalk messages on a public sidewalk. A church member and someone attempting to wash the messages away got into a dispute. Police ended up arresting the man trying to erase the message for trespass.

In that case, Bangor police and the city attorney determined that both the writing and the washing away of chalk messages on a public sidewalk was a protected activity. The washer, however, was harassing the church member while erasing the message. The police asked him to leave and he refused.

Some people have complained to the city about its decision to erase the abortion rights message in front of Collins’ home. The city attorney has not responded to questions, but city police noted that the person who wrote the message did not stick around to lodge a complaint about its erasure.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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