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A federal appeals court has granted Hobby Lobby's request for the entire court to hear its challenge of a federal requirement that it provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraceptives.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its decision Friday. Appeals are usually decided by a three-judge panel, but a total of nine judges will hear the appeal from the Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain.

Hobby Lobby is challenging a requirement in the new federal health care law that says the company must provide and pay for emergency contraceptives. The company says the requirement violates the beliefs of its Christian owners.

The Denver-based court also said it would hear Hobby Lobby's appeal on an expedited basis, with oral arguments expected this spring.



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