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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Many employers with a religious or moral objection to contraception don't have to cover birth control in their workers' health care plans, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

The big picture: The court has been wrestling for years with religious objections to the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. Today's 7-2 ruling put the court's stamp of approval on a relatively broad set of exemptions.

How we got here: The Obama administration, as part of its implementation of the ACA, required all employer-based health insurance plans to cover all federally approved forms of contraception, with no co-pays or other cost-sharing for workers.

  • That requirement has been challenged in court several times, and the Supreme Court has consistently sided with employers seeking exemptions from the rules.
  • It created the first exemption in 2014. After the Obama administration tried to rewrite the rules in response, the court made it try again.
  • Then the Trump administration came in and created new, broader exemptions. Critics sued, saying the administration hadn't followed the proper procedures for writing those rules. Tuesday's ruling rejected that claim, saying the Trump administration acted within its legal authority.

Where it stands now: Companies that aren't publicly traded only need to assert a moral objection — not necessarily a religious one — to gain an exemption from the coverage requirement. Any employer can seek a religious exemption.

  • Religiously affiliated universities are exempt, as are houses of worship.

Go deeper

Biden on court packing: It "depends" how the Barrett confirmation is "handled"

Joe Biden said at an ABC town hall on Thursday night that he will come out with a clear position on court packing by Election Day, but that his answer on the issue will depend on how the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is "handled."

The state of play: Biden said he has "not been a fan" of expanding the court because it would change the court's makeup depending on who the president is. But he signaled he would be "open to considering what happens" if Republicans push through Barrett's confirmation before the election without proper debate in the Senate.

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.