It has sent a letter to President Obama.
Mount Saint Mary's University has voiced strong opposition to a US Department of Health and Human Services requirement that its employee health care plan provide coverage for contraceptives. In a letter to President Obama, which was published in Monday's Washington Post as an open letter, the Catholic institution said mandating coverage for contraception violates its religious freedom. The letter was signed by Mount Saint Mary's President Tom Powell, and Eugene Waldron, Jr., Chairman of the University's Board of Trustees.
The Catholic Church strongly opposes artificial contraception.
A decision by the Obama Administration requiring employers, including religiously-affiliated institutions, to cover contraceptives, caused a firestorm recently. He has since backed down, and said these entities did not have to pay for them; employees could get them free of charge through their insurance companies.
The requirement under the Affordable Health Care Act provides an exemption for churches which have moral and spiritual objections to birth control. But the exemption does not extend to religiously-affiliated institutions, such as schools, colleges and hospitals.
In its letter to the President, the Mount brings up that the founder of the school, Father John Dubois, came to the US because its citizens can practice their religion as guaranteed in the Constitution. He was escaping religious persecution during the French Revolution. Mount Saint Mary's was established in 1808.
"As the second-oldest Catholic university in the United States, we feel it's vitally important that our voice is heard. That this infringement of religious liberty is in direct violation of what our founding principals as a university and as a nation are all about," says Monsignor Stuart Swetland, the Mount's Vice President of Catholic Identity.
The letter calls on the President to grant an exemption to Catholic institutions, such as Mount Saint Mary's, and other employers, when it comes to providing contraception coverage to their employees.
Monsignor Swetland says Mount Saint Mary's does not provide coverage for contraceptives in its employee health plan. As for employees who are not Catholic, or want access to contraceptives, "that would be up to an individual employee to follow his or her conscience," says Swetland. "But we're not going to provide things that violate our institutional and individual consciences."
He says this mandate doesn't just cover contraceptives, but sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.