California Congressional Candidate Stays Silent on ‘Hobby Lobby’


Read our coverage on the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases here.

As election day nears, a U.S. congressional candidate from California has made his strategy on communicating about reproductive rights clear: Don’t say anything at all.

Jeff Gorell (R-CA), a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s 26th District, recently stonewalled someone with a camera asking Gorell his opinions on the Hobby Lobby decision.

In the video, the person filming asks Gorell, “You’ve been silent on the Hobby Lobby ruling; do you support or oppose it?” Gorell continues to look straight ahead, not breaking his stride or even acknowledging that the cameraman is there, let alone that he’s been asked a question relevant to his campaign for representative. The cameraman continues to ask Gorell variations on that question, but the congressional hopeful keeps his poker face strong.

Gorell has received a zero percent pro-choice rating from Planned Parenthood a few years in a row, and a 90 percent “pro-life” rating from the California Pro-Life Council.

Though it’s not immediately clear who took the video, it was published on the website of Gorell’s opponent, the Democratic incumbent Julia Brownley. Brownley is pro-choice and a staunch advocate of contraceptive access. In a press release following the Hobby Lobby ruling, Brownley called the decision “a serious step backward for women’s health,” but promised that “as a member of Congress I will continue to fight to ensure women’s full access to reproductive care and I will always be a strong voice for the rights of Ventura County women and their families.”

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