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Judge Tosses Suit Challenging Health Law’s Contraception Requirement

Posted Jul 18, 2012 6:42 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge in Nebraska has ruled against seven state attorneys general and other plaintiffs challenging a contraception requirement in the Obama administration’s health care law.

U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom dismissed the suit on Tuesday, citing a lack of standing, report Reuters, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News and the Lincoln Journal Star. The plaintiffs also included three Nebraska-based Catholic nonprofits as well as a nun and a missionary.

The suit had claimed the contraceptive requirements violate rights to freedom of speech and religion, the stories say. The states had also claimed the requirement will impact their Medicaid budgets because religious employers will stop providing health insurance, Reuters explains.

Responding to concerns by religious employers, the government has announced that insurance companies will cover their birth control costs. The United States has delayed the coverage requirement until August 2013 to work out details of the accommodation.

Urbom said the states could show no direct injury and they cannot sue under the First Amendment. He also ruled there is no threat of immediate harm. “This case clearly involves 'contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all,' ... and therefore it is not ripe for review,” he wrote.

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