Catholic university fights 'ObamaCare' mandate

Michael P. Tremoglie Feb. 8, 2012, 9:25am


AVE MARIA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - A Catholic university in Florida is putting up a fight against ObamaCare mandates.

"What is certain is that Ave Maria University will fight this mandate of the federal government and not comply with it," University President Jim Towey said.

Ave Maria University is located in Ave Maria, Fla. Towey's remarks were in a YouTube video circulated Tuesday. The university also issued a press release the same day.

The mandate in dispute is the section of the healthcare reform legislation, commonly called Obamacare, which requires services such as sterilization, contraception and abortion. These services are antithetical to Catholic beliefs.

"The federal government has no right to mandate that Ave Maria University make available services under our health plan that undermine our identity and threaten our religious liberty," Towey said. "The University subsidizes a very generous health plan that is available to all employees and does not cover contraceptive services, including sterilization, because we follow the teachings of the Catholic Church."

He made the point that the university's employees and students who are not Catholic understand this provision that Ave Maria University will adhere to Catholic teaching -- and they do not expect such services to be provided by the institution.

However, because of this provision for contraceptive and similar services be provided in the health care reform legislation the university must "either violate our core beliefs or discontinue health care coverage for our employees, and in the process, pay a steep fine to the federal government."

Towey saidhe believes this is improper and "rejects this religious intolerance and will not bow down before government regulations that are manifestly unjust."

He said this is merely coercion by the federal government to force compliance by Catholic universities.

"Ave Maria University will fight it," Towey said. "We will use all lawful means at our disposal to oppose this unjust mandate because our rights of conscience and religious liberty demand such action."

He added that the University's Board of Trustees will be meeting to determine what recourse it has. Towey noted that he was a former director of the Faith-Based Initiative under President George W. Bush.

"I am troubled by President Obama's failure to understand the threat that this mandate poses to religious liberty for peoples of all faiths," he said.

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