Ave Maria University will fight and "not comply" with a federal government mandate that will require health plans for employees and students at Catholic colleges and universities to provide free contraceptive services, AMU President Jim Towey says in a video released by the university.
"The primary responsibility of a president of a Catholic University is to defend and protect its Catholic mission and identity," Mr. Towey said.
"It is not the right of the federal government to come and coerce us and, in effect, force us to violate our rights of conscience in order to comply with an unjust mandate."
The order by the federal department of health and human services, which would take effect after the fall election, is vehemently opposed by Catholic bishops and many other Catholic organizations. A lawsuit has been filed by The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina opposing the mandate. In addition, Florida senator Marco Rubio has proposed legislation to overturn the edict.
Mr. Towey said the AMU board of trustees will be considering legal options at its March meeting.
"But one thing is certain," he said, "Ave Maria University will fight this mandate of the federal government and will not comply with it."
David Shnaider and his wife Patricia Sette are Ave Maria residents who founded community news Web site AveHerald.com in November 2008. Contact David and Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org