High court's Hobby Lobby case emerges as campaign issue in Minnesota Senate race

  • Article by: KYLE POTTER , Associated Press
  • Updated: July 9, 2014 - 5:00 PM

EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Democrats are pushing last week's Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case into the state's U.S. Senate race.

More than a week after the ruling — and after Democrats hammered him for not taking a position — Republican-endorsed challenger Mike McFadden told reporters at a campaign stop in Eagan on Wednesday that he's pleased the high court "stood for religious freedom."

The June 30 decision held certain employers with religious objections can avoid providing free contraceptives, a requirement of President Obama's health care overhaul.

McFadden said he thinks it's possible to both protect religious freedom and provide access to contraception.

"One of the solutions that I'm looking at is to make contraception available over the counter" and more affordable, McFadden said.

McFadden previously had declined to answer questions about his stance on the high court's ruling. Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and other Democratic groups pounced, calling on McFadden to clearly define his position and questioning his support of women's health.

The DFL again criticized McFadden for his remarks Wednesday.

"McFadden's decision to stand with employers over women paints the clearest possible picture of how he would represent women in the Senate and it's downright scary," DFL spokeswoman Ellen Perrault said in a statement.

McFadden and retiring state Rep. Jim Abeler are running in a primary to decide who will take on Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November.

On Wednesday, Franken backed new Senate legislation that would restore the contraception mandate for employers' health plans.

"The Court's ruling will deny women access to the health care services they need, and that's why we have to pass this important legislative fix," Franken said in a statement.

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