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Little Sisters of the Poor formally file appeal in birth control case

A Catonsville-based group of nuns on Monday filed an appeal in a case centered on the federal health care law's requirement to provide contraceptive coverage for employees.

The Little Sisters of the Poor oppose birth control on religious grounds and sued last year to challenge the rule. Although the law provides exceptions for churches, the nuns were not automatically exempt from the requirement.

In January, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction shielding the organization from the requirement, and the Little Sisters are appealing to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to extend that protection. They are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest law firm based in Washington.

Federal officials have said that the Little Sisters can be exempt from the requirement by filling out a form, but the nuns object to doing that.

Advocates for women's health say the contraceptive requirement helps provide important preventive health care.

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