The Washington Times - July 17, 2012, 07:39PM

A federal judge has dismissed a challenge by seven states to the requirement in President Obama’s health care law that employers must provide contraception coverage to their workers.

U.S. District Judge Warren K. Urbom said the plaintiffs failed to show that a religious exemption added by the Obama administration wouldn’t apply to them, ruling that they had no standing to challenge the mandate.

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“In short, the individual plaintiffs have not shown that their current health plans will be required to cover contraception-related services under the rule, and therefore their claims must be dismissed,” Judge Urbom said in the ruling.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers who provide health insurance plans to cover certain benefits deemed “essential” without charging an extra co-pay.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced that list would include all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception, inciting a firestorm of protests from Catholic and other religious groups—even though Mr. Obama later announced that religious hospitals, charities and schools would be exempted.

The lawsuit was filed by seven Republican attorneys general from Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, and a number of other plaintiffs including three Nebraska-based employers affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Similar challenges filed by a number of religious colleges and organizations are still pending in other federal courts.