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July 15, 2015

White House Wins Another Round in Birth-Control Battle

A Denver-based U.S. appeals court found Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act's mandate that employees' health coverage include contraceptive care does not impinge on faith nonprofits' religious freedom, giving the Obama administration another victory in the legal fight over the rule, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal write.

The decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor and other groups echoes recent rulings by four other federal appellate courts. The courts have backed an accommodation implemented by the White House, under which the government or third-party insurers provide such coverage for workers at faith-affiliated hospitals, schools, and charities that state in writing moral objection to doing so.

Plaintiffs have argued that even with the opt-out provision, the rule makes them complicit in providing birth control, in violation of their creed. But 10th Circuit judges Scott Matheson and Monroe McKay, writing for the 2-1 majority, said, "Shifting responsibility to provide coverage away from the plaintiffs relieves rather than burdens their religious exercise."