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California court says church charity must pay for contraceptives

A three-judge panel of a California state appeals court rejected a bid by Catholic Charities of Sacramento to challenge a state law that requires the organisation provide contraceptives - including abortifacient drugs - to employees as part of their health insurance plans.

Catholic World News reports that the panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's denial of a request to allow Catholic Charities to provide insurance without the contraceptives until the legal issues are resolved. Their ruling said there was little hope of the Church prevailing in her challenge of the law.

If Catholic Charities does not appeal to a higher court, the lawsuit will return to a lower court to determine if the law is constitutional.

Catholic and pro-life groups slammed the court decision as trampling on the religious beliefs of Catholics.

"The rights of California Catholics to freely practice their religious beliefs have been flagrantly violated," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. "In California, so-called 'diverse' lifestyles are welcomed -- but not if you are a practicing Catholic."

Catholic Charities' attorney James Sweeney said of the decision, "We're not trying to enforce our viewpoint on anybody. We're just trying to live according to our consciences. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working out that way."