Hobby Lobby response puts McFadden on the spot

Republican-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden talked to volunteers at a Republican campaign office in Eagan on July 9, 2014. Tom Scheck/MPR News

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats wasted no time rolling out a response to last week’s Supreme Court decision on contraception and religious freedom. That decision exempts the evangelical Christian owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores and other religiously-minded corporations from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to provide mandatory contraceptive coverage.

The bill, introduced on Wednesday with the backing of both DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, would ban employers from not covering any treatment that’s guaranteed to employees under the law.

“This is really about protecting employees,” said Franken, who noted that almost all women use contraception at some point in their lives and many do so for medical reasons unrelated to birth control.

A vote is expected by the end of July although there’s little chance the Republican-controlled House will take up the measure.

Franken’s likely Republican opponent this fall, Mike McFadden, accused Franken and Democrats of turning the issue into a political football.

McFadden has tried to focus his campaign on the economy and avoid social issues in a state where voters overwhelmingly defeated a proposed ban on gay marriage in 2012. Earlier this week, McFadden did not answer questions from the Bemidji Pioneer about the case, saying he did not want to focus on “polarizing issues.”

When asked about the case at a campaign stop on Wednesday, McFadden said he was open to finding a way to make sure all women receive access to contraception.

“One of the solutions that I’m looking at is to make contraceptions available over the counter for women that either don’t have insurance or work for an employer that does not cover contraceptions,” said McFadden, although he did not offer any suggestions for how such a plan would be paid for.

That response could put McFadden at odds with some conservative Christians who make up a large proportion of Republican voters.

  • Abby

    The Wahabi Lobby should not inflict their religious views, on women, but should treasure women’s rights, as women are their customers.

  • Amy

    He is running for office. Should he succeed he will be required to weigh in on ‘polarizing issues.’ The voters have a right to know what position he will take. Does he plan to vote ‘present’ everytime what he views a ‘polarizing’ issue is? and what is his definition of ‘polarizing’ and how expansive is that definition? Seems to me that he is choosing cowardice and calling it ‘pragmatism.’

  • KTN

    ” although he did not offer any suggestions for how such a plan would be paid for”
    Of course he didn’t offer any plan – you have to have a plan to offer one, and he is woefully unprepared to do so. He does sound bites pretty well however, and that is very important for the Republicans, they like sound bites, but substance, not so much.

  • mpjt16

    Ai all levels the Republicans are going to avoid any mention of social issues. Unfortunately many independents like myself are marginally okay with a tighter fiscal policy but can’t possibly get past the anti gay, opposition to choice for women issue. The candidates will all have to make their positions clear to sway an independent voter.