AVE MARIA, Fla. (AP) - Ave Maria University officials say they're thrilled by a Supreme Court ruling Monday against a requirement to provide health care that includes contraceptives, and they'll push forward with a lawsuit against the government over the mandate.
The court ruled that some corporations can opt out of the requirement, if they are owned by a small group of people with religious objections to providing the coverage.
The ruling applies to for-profit companies, not the university, but Ave Maria President Jim Towey said he hopes the ruling prompts the government to create "the exemption that should have been provided from day one for faith-based groups."
The Catholic university in southwest Florida balked at the mandate and sued the government. In 2012, Ave Maria stopped making health insurance available to students after its insurance carrier said the university was required to pay all students' claims for "preventive services."
The university has until Nov. 1 to comply with the contraception mandate with insurance coverage for 170 employees or face hefty fines, Towey said.
He planned to meet with the university's attorneys to discuss their next steps for the lawsuit that stalled while awaiting the Supreme Court's decision. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing the school.
"What was impressive to me today was the court made clear the government has the ability to provide free contraception and does not need faith-based organizations who object to do this for them. And that's been our argument all along," Towey said.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)