Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

Ave Maria President: We Want Our Day in Court

Ave Maria University has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate, according to a release from the university sent to The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The Obama administration’s mandate that seeks to coerce Ave Maria University to cooperate with its scheme to make abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and other contraceptive services available to employees under our employer-provided health plan, is unconstitutional and a violation of Federal law, and today we are suing to prevent its enforcement,” University President Jim Towey said.

Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court dismissed Ave Maria University’s original lawsuit, saying that the administration’s mandate had not yet been finalized. But after repeated promises for future accommodations from the Administration, the rule was finalized without any changes to the fact that religious institutions would be forced to provide coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures. 

“The Obama administration seems hell-bent on denying faith-based organizations their rights of conscience and religious freedom,” said Towey. “Ave Maria University will not violate its core religious beliefs, wash our hands like Pontius Pilate, and surrender to the Obama administration’s coercive mandate.”    

“The bureaucrats’ proposed solution does not solve anything,” said Eric Baxter, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Ave Maria University in this matter. “Ave Maria is still forced to participate in the government’s scheme to provide free access to contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices against their religious beliefs.”

The mandate is expected to begin being enforced on January 1 of next year. Failure to comply with the mandate could cost the university as much as $7 million in annual fines, forcing the university to face bankruptcy or violate their religious beliefs, according to a statement by Towey.

 “We want our day in court,” he said.

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