The Catholic University of America



Professor Mark Rienzi Authors Op-Ed in U.S. News
on Access to Emergency Contraception

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Catholic University law school Professor Mark Rienzi authored one-half of a dueling viewpoint editorial published in the Oct. 5 edition of U.S. News Weekly

The subject was “Should Emergency Contraception Be a Guarantee?” The online news magazine framed the question this way:
“Some states allow healthcare providers to refuse to provide emergency contraception on the basis of personal beliefs. Proponents of requiring medical professionals to provide EC say the exemption hurts women. Opponents say conscientious objectors must be respected.”
Rienzi, who as senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty litigated a case from Illinois that dealt with this issue precisely, argued the “no” point of view, writing:
“We hold a wide range of opinions on controversial subjects like abortion, capital punishment, and assisted suicide. Medical professionals are no different: They are free and diverse people with diverse beliefs. This means that some will be willing to participate in certain activities—preparing a lethal injection for an execution, providing abortion-inducing drugs, or prescribing chemicals to help a cancer patient kill herself—and some will not. In a free and pluralistic society, the best response to this diversity is the simplest one: live and let live. So long as they are legal, free people should be free to choose whether or not to participate in these procedures. There are many willing providers, and there is no need to force unwilling people to participate.”
Gretchen Borchelt, senior counsel and director of State Reproductive Health Policy, National Women’s Law Center, authored the opposing point of view, stating that:

          “The religious beliefs of pharmacists, doctors, nurses, or other healthcare providers should not trump a 
          woman’s ability to make decisions about her reproductive health. Those decisions are personal, and
          they should stay that way.”
The column has already run in U.S. News’ subscription-based digital weekly magazine. It will be posted online later in October.