Women's issues cause tension for Foster, Senger
Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster frequently says women's issues are among the things separating him from his Republican challenger in the 11th Congressional District race.
On Wednesday, during a candidate forum at Congregation Beth Shalom in Naperville, Foster reiterated that his challenger, state Rep. Darlene Senger, is not fully supportive of women's rights and has "spent her time in Springfield pushing clinic closings and mandatory ultrasound bills."
"I support a women's right to choose," he said. "I believe that Roe v. Wade is, and should remain, a matter of settled law."
Senger, meanwhile, said Democrats' "play card" is too often to get women to focus on social agendas and "that's wrong."
"I'm pro-life, OK? But I'm not going to Washington on a social agenda. And I do believe in contraceptives and think women should have contraceptives," she said.
Still, Senger said she supports the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby, which said some companies with religious objections can avoid a contraceptives requirement that is part of the Affordable Care Act.
"Your religious rights are protected. I'm glad there's that check and balance in there," she said, adding that if it wasn't for Obamacare, the issue would have "never been brought up."
Foster disagreed, saying the ruling doesn't clarify where you draw the line. He questioned if, for example, an employee's blood transfusion shouldn't be paid for because the procedure is against the employer's religious beliefs.
"A large number of women use birth control not for contraception, but simply for good medical reasons and I don't believe that a boss's religious beliefs should allow him to say yes or no on that," he said.
He also brought up a protest led by the American Civil Liberties Union that occurred outside Senger's Naperville office because of her support for a bill that set new standards for abortion clinics.
"This is pretty far from the sort of cooperation and quiet debate that she's characterizing her Springfield performance as," he said.
But Senger explained why she supported the bill, which was called the Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act. She said it took a look at clinics that were grandfathered since the 1970s that hadn't had a health inspection in years.
"Someone finally went into this clinic in Rockford, for the first time in years, and did an inspection and they immediately shut it down," she said. "There were blood stains on the ceilings ... I would never want anyone to go to a facility that dangerous, for anything."
Foster and Senger are Naperville residents. The 11th District covers parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties, including Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge and Joliet.