The Catholic University of America


Professor Mark Rienzi in Media Spotlight over Mandatory
Insurance Coverage of Contraception for Religious Groups

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Catholic University Law School Professor Mark Rienzi was interviewed by Fox News Sunday on Jan. 6 (above) about the ongoing legal battle between the Obama Administration and religiously-affiliated employers over whether the president's signature health care law can require them to cover forms of contraception in their health care plans. 

As senior counsel for the Alexandria-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Rienzi represents the Catholic nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor for the Aged, which filed a challenge to the law’s contraceptive requirement arguing that it violates Catholic teaching and beliefs. The Little Sisters of the Poor serves the elderly poor in more than 30 countries and employs religious and lay persons alike in hospital settings.
 
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently granted a temporary order exempting the religious order from the law’s mandate, but the Justice Department filed papers on Jan. 4 asking that the order be lifted.
 
The government maintains the stay is unnecessary because the Little Sisters can simply sign a form that exempts them from complying with the law’s contraceptive coverage requirements on religious grounds.
 
During his Fox appearance and elsewhere, Rienzi has argued shifting the responsibility to insure contraceptive products from the nuns to an outside party amounts to little more than a legal dodge.
 
"The Little Sisters...cannot execute the form because they cannot deputize a third party to sin on their behalf," Rienzi wrote in the group’s legal filing.
 
Presenting an opposing point of view was NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue.
 
The issue remains unresolved and a hot topic within the media. Within the past few days, Rienzi was interviewed or quoted on the subject by national media including USA Today, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Denver Post, and others.