The Obama administration said Friday that most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge, and it rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided to employees of Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities.

Federal officials said they would give such church-affiliated organizations one additional year — until Aug. 1, 2013 — to comply with the requirement. Most other employers and insurers must comply by this Aug. 1.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church had personally appealed to President Obama to grant the broad exemption. He made the final decision on the issue after hearing from them, as well as from family planning advocates, scientific experts and members of Congress, administration officials said.

The rule takes a big step to remove cost as a barrier to birth control, a longtime goal of advocates for women’s rights and experts on women’s health.

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