Sara Gideon, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at a "Supper with Sara" campaign event, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Dayton, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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Kate Hitchings Ahalt works in finance and lives in Bath.

Supporting Susan Collins because she is a moderate willing to work across the aisle does not match the totality of her record and ignores an issue of enormous importance in this election: reproductive freedom. In fact, the stakes for reproductive freedom have never been higher than they are today — in large part due to the actions of Collins. She cast a deciding vote confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite massive protests from her constituents and hearing from Mainers who sounded the alarm about the threat Kavanaugh would pose to their fundamental freedoms.

Now, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are moving full steam ahead in their effort to ram through the confirmation of another far-right Supreme Court nominee. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, like Kavanaugh, represents a threat to the rights and freedoms we hold dear. Despite Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s attempts to distract from the truth of her record in recent debates, there is no mystery as to the threat Amy Coney Barrett would pose Roe v. Wade.

If you support the fundamental freedom to decide whether and when to have or grow a family, as the vast majority of Americans do, please vote for Sara Gideon for the U.S. Senate.

I know firsthand the stakes for reproductive freedom. I am a mother of two small children who has been pregnant four times in the last six years, having also lost two pregnancies. It may sound counterintuitive, but I have never felt more strongly about the importance of a woman’s freedom to make her own decisions about her body, her family, and her life than I did when I experienced the miscarriage of two planned pregnancies.

In both instances, I had to undergo a medical procedure to complete the miscarriage that is essentially identical to an abortion. Those were confusing, heartbreaking days — but I was fortunate to have access to a caring and experienced medical team that treated me with dignity and made sure I was healthy.

For me, that experience brought home the fact that when families like mine are making these personal medical decisions, one-size-fits-all laws and restrictions don’t work — they actually harm people. Women and families navigating these complex decisions need compassionate, accurate medical information and care, not shame and stigma, and most certainly not government or political interference. More than anything, pregnancy and the series of decisions that can arise during a pregnancy are inherently and extraordinarily personal and private.

Gideon understands this. She has proven that she does not back down from the fight for reproductive freedom, which means ensuring women and families are able to make their own decisions about pregnancy. In her time as Speaker of the House in Maine, Gideon has worked to remove harmful barriers that blocked Mainers from accessing compassionate, time-sensitive care. Families like mine can trust her record.

Our rights are very much on the line, and the stakes are too high to trust Collins. Right now, we need somebody who will stand up to Trump and McConnell when it counts. Judging her purely by her own actions over the last several years, Susan Collins is not that person.