Representative James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following remarks after the owners of Hobby Lobby filed a law suit in federal court in Oklahoma City today regarding the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring private companies to provide abortion-related drugs to patients without a co-pay as a result of the President's healthcare law.
"I am proud that a privately-owned Oklahoma company decided to take a stand against this obvious attack on the First Amendment right to practice the religion of your choice," said Representative Lankford. "HHS requires business owners to surrender their values and change to the Administration's values or face a huge federal fine. Federal coercion to require businesses to provide free drugs that render abortions clearly violates the religious beliefs and moral practice of hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans. In July, a District Judge blocked the enforcement of the mandate on a Colorado company, Hercules Industries Inc., now this suit allows Hobby Lobby to take up another legal torch against the usurpation of this right."
The Green family owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel retail stores. Hobby Lobby employs more than 13,000 people in 500 stores throughout the United States. Mardel operates more than 30 stores with more than 300 employees.
"This Administration decided to move beyond regulating private businesses to now telling them how to run their business," continued Lankford. "The suppression of First Amendment rights is based in this Administration's desire to dictate rather than protect our freedoms.
"We have the duty to utilize our court system to ensure the preservation of our constitutional rights. A favorable outcome in this case will remind the Executive Branch that our liberties are codified within the Constitution, not the Department of Health and Human Services or President Obama," concluded Lankford.
In July 2012, U.S. District Judge John Kane temporarily blocked HHS from enforcing the contraception mandate on Hercules Industries Inc, a private manufacturer of HVAC equipment owned by the Catholic Newland family. In Newland v. Sebelius, Judge Kane offered the family a brief, ad hoc stay that the judge stipulated did not necessarily enjoin other parties, hence the need for the Green family's suit.