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Federal judge tosses contraception challenge to federal healthcare overhaul

A federal judge Tuesday tossed out a challenge by Florida and six other states over part of the federal healthcare overhaul law requiring coverage for birth control in insurance plans. Many religious organizations objected to the requirement. But  the judge ruled the states don’t have legal ground to sue.

The state’s claimed if religious organizations stopped insuring their employees due to the contraception requirement, it could put more people onto the Medicaid rolls. But U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom wrote that the states arguments were based on, quote, “layers of conjecture.”

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning spearheaded the lawsuit. Florida joined in, along with other states like South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Michigan.

Many religious organizations pushed against the contraception requirements, saying it violated their religious freedoms. Earlier in the year the federal department of Health and Human Services exempted churches from the rules, but kept the requirement in place for other groups like church related hospitals and charities. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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