Court rejects Pa. firm's healthcare law challenge

A federal appeals court has ruled against the Mennonite owners of a central Pennsylvania furniture manufacturing company who claimed new health insurance requirements that they pay for employees' contraceptive services violate their free speech and religion rights.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling issued Friday upholds a lower court decision that the owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. do not qualify for an exception as a religious employer, since it is a for-profit company making a secular product.

Conestoga's health plan had excluded coverage for contraceptives and drugs used to abort a pregnancy, citing Mennonite Church teaching that terminating a fertilized embryo is "a sin against God."

The Pennsylvania case is one of more than 60 nationwide addressing the rule mandating contraception coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.



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