- Associated Press - Friday, June 15, 2018

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A federal judge has ruled in favor of Christian colleges in Michigan and Iowa that sued the government to avoid paying for abortion- and contraception-related health care under an Obama-era requirement.

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett issued a permanent injunction Tuesday, blocking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing the 2011 mandate. It required employers, regardless of their religious or moral beliefs, to provide health insurance coverage for contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization.

Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, sued in October 2013. They argued that the requirement to provide coverage for morning-after or week-after pills violated their religious freedoms. They said many Christians consider the pills to be abortion drugs.

Interim Department of Health and Human Services rules abandoned the mandate last year.

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