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US Seeks to Dismiss Contraception Suit

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SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) - The Obama administration is asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Christian colleges in Iowa and Michigan over a mandate requiring health insurance plans to provide free birth control coverage.

The Justice Department said in a filing last week the legal challenge by Dordt College and Cornerstone University is a meritless attempt to prevent their female employees from obtaining coverage.

Sioux Center, Iowa-based Dordt and Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Cornerstone filed the lawsuit last year. They claim that a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance plans to provide birth control pills without co-pays violates their religious freedom since they oppose the use of contraception.

The Obama administration says the mandate accommodates religious-based employers by requiring insurers and third-party plan administrators to pay for that coverage.