Court rules against Notre Dame over birth control

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal appeals court has issued a ruling against the University of Notre Dame in a lawsuit over parts of the federal health care law that force it to cover contraceptives through health insurance for students and employees.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Friday upheld a judge's earlier ruling that denied the Roman Catholic school's request for a preliminary injunction as the lawsuit moves forward.

The lawsuit challenges a compromise offered by the Obama administration that attempted to create a buffer for religiously affiliated universities and other organizations that oppose birth control. The healthcare law requires insurers or the health plan's outside administrator to pay for birth control coverage.

Notre Dame contends the law violates its freedom to practice religion without government interference.

In its 2-1 decision, with Judge Joel M. Flaum dissenting, the court noted that Notre Dame had already notified the administrator of its employee plan, Meritain Health Inc., and the insurer for students, Aetna Inc., that the university would not pay for contraception, as required under the compromise. However, Aetna and Meritain still must cover contraception.


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