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Birth Control Coverage Up For Federal Appeal

In the most prominent challenge of its kind, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. has asked a federal appeals court for an exemption from part of the federal health care law.

The retailer said Thursday it shouldn't be required to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill and other contraceptives that the owners oppose on religious grounds.

The Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain argues that for-profit businesses should have the same exceptions granted to religious groups and some nonprofits.

A lawyer representing the U.S. Department of Justice says allowing Hobby Lobby to exempt itself from the contraception mandate would be tantamount to allowing the company to impose its religious views on its employees, who are entitled to contraception coverage.

There's no indication how soon the eight-judge panel will decide.