NAPLES, Fla. - Ave Maria University joins three other schools in a federal lawsuit over the government's mandate that the school offer health services that it claims undermine the University's religious convictions.
Ave Maria University President Jim Towey Tuesday announced that the University is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from a federal court claiming the federal government is coercing the school into funding contraceptive services that include abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization, in the health plan the school offers employees.
"Under the federal mandate Ave Maria University would be paying for these
drugs if we complied with the law. So we will not. We are prepared to
discontinue our health plan and pay the $2,000 per employee, per year fine
rather than comply with an unjust, immoral mandate in violation of our
rights of conscience."
The suit was filed on behalf of the University Tuesday morning by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
"The federal mandate puts Ave Maria in a terrible bind," said Kyle Duncan,
General Counsel for the Becket Fund. "Either it betrays its faith and covers
the drugs, or else it ends employee health benefits and pays hundreds of
thousands in annual fines."
The Beckett Fund has also filed similar lawsuits on behalf of three other religious universities.