ObamaCare mandate challenge rejected

Religious nonprofit groups were dealt a blow Friday when a federal appeals court upheld the Obama administration's plan to allow an exemption for providing contraception coverage, according to the Associated Press. 

The District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 against the groups - that charged the new path set by the administration would harm their ability to express religion. 

After the Supreme Court ruled that some companies with religious objections do not have to abide by the ObamaCare requirement that health plans provide contraceptive to women for free, the administration revamped its rules to allow an exemption for religious non-profit organizations. 

But groups - including Priests for Life and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington - challenged ObamaCare accommodation for them since they contend that other participants - whose employers do not opt out for religious reasons - will receive the contraceptive coverage. 

The appeals court rejected the argument however, noting that ObamaCare's contraceptive coverage was included "to promote women's equal access to health care appropriate to their needs." 

The religious groups may still opt out of such contraceptive coverage for their respective employees, the court wrote noting that it was a relatively simple process: submit a letter or two page form. 

Calling the "bit of paperwork ... more straight-forward and minimal than many that are staples of nonprofit organizations," Obama-nominated appeals judge Cornelia Pillard wrote that the groups "are excused from playing any role in the provision of contraceptive services, and they remain free to condemn contraception in the clearest terms."