Court: Birth control mandate violates religious rights

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Missouri lawmaker who cited religious objections while challenging the inclusion of birth control coverage in his government-provided health insurance.

The ruling Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton addresses a section of President Barack Obama's health care law that requires insurers to include coverage of contraception.

State Sen. Paul Wieland and his wife, Teresa, who are Roman Catholics, filed a lawsuit asserting it violates their religious beliefs to include contraception coverage in their state health insurance plan.

They cited the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says government shall not "substantially burden" religious rights unless by the least restrictive means to further a compelling government interest.

The judge said the contraception coverage mandate violated that less-restrictive standard.