Press Release

Becket Fund Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Ave Maria University Government leaves university no choice

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Washington, DC – Today, Florida’s Ave Maria University joined the rising tide of Becket lawsuits against the Obama Administration’s attempt to force contraception, sterilization, and abortion drugs into virtually every health insurance policy in America.  Jim Towey, Ave Maria’s President and former head of the Bush Administration’s Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives is determined to stop the Administration’s assault on religious freedom.

“It is a sad day when an American citizen or organization has no choice but to sue its own government in order to exercise religious liberty rights guaranteed by our nation’s Constitution,” President Towey states.  “Allowing a U.S. president of any political party or religious affiliation to force conformance to his or her religious or secular orthodoxy through executive action, is a perilous precedent.”

Ave Maria University is seeking relief from a federal court in Florida because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services demands the University offer health plan services that undermine its firmly-held religious convictions.

“The federal mandate puts Ave Maria in a terrible bind,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for Becket Law, which filed suit this morning on behalf of the University.  “Either it betrays its faith and covers the drugs, or else it ends employee health benefits and pays hundreds of thousands in annual fines.”

Ave Maria is a Catholic University dedicated to transmitting authentic Catholic values to students, who can then carry those values to the world.  The Obama Administration’s contraceptive and abortion mandate threatens the very faith that animates Ave Maria’s mission.

Ave Maria University’s case is the fourth lawsuit brought by Becket challenging the Obama administration’s abortion drug mandate. Becket also represents Belmont Abbey College (a Catholic college in North Carolina), Colorado Christian University (a nondenominational Christian University outside Denver), and the Eternal Word Television Network.

 Becket Law is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. Becket has a 17-year history of defending religious liberty for people of all faiths. Its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law, and they recently won a 9-0 victory against the federal government at the U.S. Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Melinda Skea at or call 202.349.7224.