Yet another lawsuit was filed challenging the abortion pill mandate requiring employers to provide certain abortion inducing drugs as part of health care plans. On Tuesday, Ave Maria School of Law, through attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a federal lawsuit in Florida. President and dean of the school Eugene Milhizer believes that the law provides employers with the option of either deserting faith or paying fines:
The First Amendment protects Americans from mandates that require us to act against our deeply held religious convictions. But the mandate leaves us with no real choice: we must either comply and abandon our religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for our faith.
Ava Maria holds sincere religious beliefs that prevent it from providing abortifacient drugs or contraceptives. According to the lawsuit:
Based on teachings of the Catholic Church and its own sincerely held religious beliefs, Ave Maria believes that abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization do not constitute medicine, health care, or a means of providing for the well being of persons. It further believes that these procedures involve gravely immoral practices, including the willful destruction of innocent human life. As a consequence, Ave Maria has always provided health insurance benefits to its employees that omit coverage of abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization.
While there is a religious exemption provided within the mandate, Ava Maria does not qualify for any exceptions. The school has been offered an “accommodation” that would allow a third-party administrator to organize payment for the drugs and procedures that go against the religious beliefs of the school, but the end result is that the school will be providing insurance with “benefits” it does not agree with. The lawsuit describes the “accommodation” as “a flimsy, superficial, and utterly semantic ‘accommodation’ that falls woefully short of addressing and resolving the substance of its concerns.”
Ava Maria is now forced to take its concerns to the courtroom.