The Catholic University of America


Professor Mark Rienzi Assists Lawsuit
Challenging Government Health Mandate

Catholic University law school professor Mark Rienzi is among the attorneys assisting the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in its representation of Belmont Abbey College in a lawsuit filed on Nov. 10 that challenges a 2011 mandate from the Health and Human Services Department.

The legal action claims that the federal government overstepped its constitutional authority when it issued a rule last summer that requires thousands of religious organizations to provide, against their beliefs, contraceptives they consider to be abortifacients—namely Plan B and Ella—and sterilization.
Religious organizations that refuse to do so could face a severe fine.
“The lawsuit we filed today is a big deal. It is the first challenge to the HHS contraceptive mandate that came out in August,” said Rienzi. “The mandate has a very, very narrow religious exemption.  But it will force most religious organizations and religious individuals who employ 50 or more people to pay for these things, regardless of their religious objections.” 
The lawsuit is fully described in a press release from the Becket Fund. Rienzi also contributed a front page article to the National Catholic Register that outlines the constitutional issues involved.