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I would like [Senator Collins] to vote no on the nomination. My message for her is to consider her constituents, the population of Maine, especially women -- young, poor, living in rural areas. Imagine if Roe v. Wade is overturned, what would they do?” 

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund released the findings of focus groups conducted in Maine immediately following Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony in his confirmation hearing last week. The findings were consistent: All eight women who participated in the focus groups were unequivocally opposed to Kavanaugh and strongly desired Sen. Collins to vote no on his nomination to the Supreme Court.

During pre-screening, the participants self-identified as seven independents and one Democrat. Seven of the eight women eventually identified themselves, during the focus group, as supporters of Susan Collins during her 2014 re-election campaign. No participants were strong opponents or supporters of abortion rights.  

You can view a video of a part of the focus group here.

The focus group’s findings are in line with previous polling showing that Mainers do not want their senators to support a Supreme Court nominee who is a threat to Roe v. Wade. Despite Kavanaugh’s attempts to dodge every question about access to safe, legal abortion, the American people know that Kavanaugh’s record speaks for itself — he has already ruled against access to safe, legal abortion and suggested Roe was incorrectly decided. Bottom line: Sen. Collins’ constituents want her to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

The women of Maine are on high alert: They know that Brett Kavanaugh is a threat to their most fundamental rights and that, if given the chance, he would overturn Roe and gut access to safe, legal abortion. Their concerns cannot be written off as ‘hysteria’ — if confirmed, Kavanaugh will likely rule on a pivotal abortion case within the next two years. Mainers want their senators to protect their basic freedoms and the freedoms of those in generations to come. Mainers want their senators to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

At the end of a two-hour discussion, each of the eight women were asked how they would like Sen. Collins to vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. They all asked her to vote against Kavanaugh and expressed that they would have trouble voting for her again if she voted to confirm Kavanaugh. To view an excerpt from the focus group, click HERE.

The focus group’s most compelling takeaways include:

  • “I would like her to vote no on the nomination. My message for her is to consider her constituents, the population of Maine, especially women — young, poor, living in rural areas. Imagine if Roe v. Wade is overturned, what would they do?”
  • “I would ask her to consider the thousands of women in the state of Maine and their descendents as she decides to place an individual in the Supreme Court who would not respect a woman’s right to choose. And to please stand by her statement that she supports women’s rights and vote against Brett Kavanaugh.”
  • “I’d be disappointed if you voted in favor of Kavanaugh given your statements affirming women’s rights to their own bodies and decisions concerning them. We haven’t seen or heard enough of Kavanaugh’s rulings to trust him.”
  • “I believe you, Susan Collins, when you say you believe in women’s rights...It’s important right now for you to stand up for what you believe. This is the time to do it.”
  • “If you vote yes, please at least be honest that you know, if given the option, he will side pro-life and, state by state, will dismantle a woman’s safety and right to govern her own body.”
  • “I don’t want her to support Kavanaugh...By putting someone like that on the Supreme Court that every woman in the state of Maine is going to have to live for generations with the decisions that he comes forward with.”
  • “Not answering questions is not good enough.”
  • “Before an informed decision can be made, you have to consider all the information available, and so little has been revealed about his record that a yes vote would be irresponsible. You represent the state of Maine and all the women in it, and if he cannot commit to keeping Roe v. Wade as is, he should not have your vote. Represent us. Stand up for us. And protect our rights.”

More Background:

  • DRI Critical Insights recruited adult women from the facility’s database of former and potential focus group participants in commercial and political focus groups. Participants were screened on their beliefs about climate change, abortion, and gun restrictions as well as their self-identified political party. 
  • Belden, a professional focus group moderator and survey researcher, is the founding partner of Belden Russonello Strategists, past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, and a board member of the Roper Center.
  • Participants were paid $200 for their participation, higher than the usual industry standard of $75 or $100 due to the short timeframe under which participants were recruited. 
  • Participants were informed that their answers in the group could be made public, but were not informed of the sponsor until after the group’s conversation concluded. They were not paid differently based on whether their answers were used.

To view a snippet of the video from the focus group, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSfxpfCwBVM&feature=youtu.be

Additional videos from the focus group are available for media review. To watch highlights from the focus group, please contact [email protected]

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

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