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Federal judge sides with Georgia Catholic organizations in fight over contraception mandate

A federal judge in Atlanta has ruled certain non-profit organizations in Georgia affiliated with the Catholic Church are not subject to a contraception mandate included in the president's health care law.

The law exempts Catholic dioceses and archdioceses from the mandate, but not affiliated organizations such as schools, charities and hospitals.

U.S. District Judge William Duffey ruled Wednesday that the federal government cannot enforce the mandate against Catholic Education of North Georgia, Inc., which operates five Catholic schools, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Inc.

The Catholic organizations said the mandate would require them to pay for and refer women to get abortion drugs and contraception, which they say is prohibited by their religious beliefs.

A lawyer for the government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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