contraception, HHS Mandate, Religious Freedom

Ave Maria university vows not to comply with HHS mandate despite court setback

by Kirsten Andersen

AVE MARIA, FL, April 4, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ave Maria University will not appeal a federal court ruling dismissing its lawsuit against the HHS mandate, but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up the fight.

Ave Maria University

A federal court dismissed the case, on Good Friday, of Ave Maria University’s on the grounds that the federal regulations in question are not in final form. “One thing is clear, Ave Maria is not going to comply with the federal contraception mandate,” university President Jim Towey said in a statement.

“It does not mean our lawsuit is dead,” he said. “The Obama administration has bought itself time by promising to change its regulations and the court’s dismissal order explicitly relies on this promise.”

The “ripeness” argument has been used by several federal judges to temporarily dismiss some of the 50+ lawsuits pending against the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) because of the controversial mandate.

The mandate requires all employers, regardless of religious objections, to offer fullcoverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient pills to their female employees with no co-pay.

Initially, the mandate applied to all employers with no exceptions. After massive outcry from Catholics and other groups who oppose the new regulations on religious grounds, the Obama administration offered a one-year “grace period” to religious objectors and began revising the rules.

A final version of the mandate is expected to be issued this summer.

In the meantime, some judges are refusing to hear cases against a mandate that may not exist in its current form for much longer.

“If the final regulations that come out this summer do not keep this promise [to revise the mandate to fully accommodate religious objectors], Ave Maria University will be back in federal court with this lawsuit,” said Towey. “The clock is ticking. In 274 days – on January 1, 2014 – the so-called ‘safe harbor’ protection the university now enjoys will no longer exist, and the Obama administration’s contraception mandate will be in full force.”

Towey added that the university will accept the ruling dismissing the lawsuit “for now,” but added he hopes “the Obama administration will soon get rid of its rotten regulations and respect our right of conscience and religious identity.”

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