Last year, we reported on the FBI raid of Pennsylvania pro-life advocate Mark Houck's house in an apparent political move. Now, Houck has been acquitted of the federal charges brought against him relating to the incident:
A federal jury on Monday acquitted Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck, who was charged with violating the FACE Act over a 2021 skirmish with a Planned Parenthood volunteer outside a Pennsylvania clinic.
The FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”
Houck was accused of physically assaulting Bruce Love, a 72-year-old clinic escort, in October 2021. Love was attempting to escort two patients exiting the Philadelphia clinic when Houck “forcefully shoved” him to the ground, according to the Justice Department. On a separate occasion, Houck allegedly verbally confronted the escort and shoved him to the ground outside the clinic. Love sustained injuries that required medical attention.
However, Houck said he spoke outside of abortion clinics each week and sometimes brought his 12-year-old son along. He said he shoved Love after the clinic escort invaded his son’s personal space and yelled at him.
The incident you see in that video earned Mark Houck an early morning FBI raid where he was arrested in front of his family and thousands of dollars worth of legal bills to be declared not guilty. Pure political persecution by Merrick Garland and Kristen Clarke.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 31, 2023
The Biden Department of Justice has been accused of misusing the FACE Act to intimidate the pro-life community:
"What we did was win a big victory for the pro-life movement against the Biden administration," Peter Breen, EVP and head of litigation at the Thomas More Society, reflected. "They were trying to scare pro-lifers from coming out on the sidewalks and being active. Biden, that DOJ, sent their best prosecutor, the top guy for face prosecutions from Washington, to help deal with this case in Philly and that jury, once we finally got it seated fully, took about an hour to find Mark not guilty on all charges."
Some congressional Republicans like Rep. Chip Roy are now calling for the repeal of the FACE Act:
"Justice has been served, but this brazen exercise in intimidation never should have happened. Mark Houck and his eight children never should have been forced to live through an FBI raid or see their father led away in handcuffs," Roy told Fox News in a statement. . .
"Congress must continue oversight of the FACE Act and should consider a full repeal of this eminently abused and clearly weaponized federal usurpation of state police powers. Congress should also take a hard look at the tens of billions we're giving to the Department of Justice and exactly how those funds are being used."
The American people deserve answers from the FBI and DOJ on why they are spending time and resources on going after pro-lifers like Mark Houck instead of focusing on other issues of importance.
Mark Houck never should have been prosecuted, let alone treated like a terrorist in an early-morning FBI raid with a SWAT team.— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 30, 2023
Merrick Garland should be ashamed for using DOJ as a political weapon to target pro-life activists.
What happened to Mark Houck is vile--arrested in front of his children because he advocates passionately for life. We need answers from FBI leadership about who decided to prosecute an innocent man. https://t.co/XnxVvQv0Kt— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) January 31, 2023