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Oregon lawmakers pass contraceptive bill

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SALEM, Ore.--The Oregon Legislature has passed and sent to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski a measure to require health plans offered by insurers to provide the same coverage for prescriptive contraceptives as they do for other prescription drugs.

The new requirement, though, would not apply to insurers that offer health plans to religious employers, which the legislation defines as an entity whose purpose is the "inculcation of religious values."

A majority of states have similar laws. A federal appeals court, though, ruled in March in a case involving Union Pacific Railroad Co. that federal law does not mandate equitable coverage for prescription contraceptives.

Gov. Kulongoski will sign the bill, H.B. 2700, a spokeswoman said.