Judge Blocks Missouri Birth Control Law

A federal judge on Friday struck down a new Missouri law that mandated the availability of insurance plans that exclude contraceptive coverage if employers or their insured employees object to birth control on moral or religious grounds. The law was passed after the state's legislature overrode a September veto by the Democratic governor. Apparently it was vetoed for a reason: In striking down the law, the judge asked the Missouri Department of Insurance how the new law would not be a "direct conflict" with federal laws mandating contraceptive coverage regardless of moral compunctions. The department offered no response.