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Ave Maria University Files Suit Over Contraception Mandate

The Becket Fund for Religious LIberty has filed suit on behalf of Ave Maria University against the Obama Administration's requirement that employers cover birth control. The fight over contraception is now moving into the courts.

Posted on February 21, 2012, at 10:45 a.m. ET

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Ave Maria University, the Catholic college in Florida, is filing suit over the Health and Human Services Department mandate that would require them to provide contraception coverage for their employees, the college announced today, charging the Obama administration with violating their religious freedom.

The Becket Fund, a non-profit religious legal organization, is handling the lawsuit on behalf of Ave Maria. It's the fourth such lawsuit the Fund has been responsible for -- the first three were for Catholic TV network EWTN; Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic college in North Carolina; and evangelical Colorado Christian University.

The Department of Justice has asked a federal court to dismiss the suit filed on behalf of Belmont Abbey College.

In a press release, the president of Ave Maria Jim Towey says, "The federal government has no right to coerce the University into funding contraceptive services that include abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization, in the health plan we offer our employees."

"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," Towey continues in the release.

Two representatives of the Becket Fund and Jim Towey will hold a conference call with press to elaborate on the lawsuit at 11 a.m. today.