Judge: Auto dealer need not cover contraceptives

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A federal judge says a Hastings auto dealership can't be forced to provide employees with health insurance that covers certain forms of birth control.

Citing a precedent the U.S. Supreme Court set this summer, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled this week that Douglas Erickson, the owner of Hastings Ford and Hastings Chrysler Center, can't be required to provide coverage that violates his religious beliefs.

Erickson says contraceptives that prevent a fertilized egg from being implanted in the uterus violate his belief that life begins at conception.

It's the latest in a string of court decisions across the country involving family-owned businesses that have sued to become exempt from the so-called contraceptive mandate in the federal Affordable Care Act because of their religious beliefs.

Planned Parenthood is criticizing the decision.

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