Pro-Life Leader Calls for Investigation of Bogus FBI Raid on Peaceful Pro-Life Family

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 26, 2022   |   10:50AM   |   Washington, DC

A pro-life leader is calling for a Congressional investigation of a bogus FBI raid that resulted in the arrest of a peaceful pro-life advocate of a minor incident outside an abortion center and a federal charge that could put him in prison for up to 11 years.

As LifeNews has reported, Joe Biden’s FBI has raided the home of a well-known pro-life advocate and arrested him in front of his crying children on a bogus charge that had already been thrown out of court. Biden’s administration is coming under fire for weaponizing the FBI and Department of Justice to target pro-life conservatives.

Mark Houck, a father of seven, is frequently seen sidewalk counseling in front of Philadelphia abortion businesses to help women choose pro-life alternatives.

However, because a federal law protects access to abortion businesses, Houck was charged with violating it after a minor altercation.

In September 2021, Houck was involved in an incident outside a Philadelphia abortion business where a pro-abortion clinic escort had repeatedly bullied and intimidated his 12-year-old son who was with him to help sidewalk counsel and encourage women to choose pro-life alternatives. After multiple verbal assaults and the abortion activist getting into his son’s face, Houck pushed him away and he fell.

Now, Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, has written a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa seeking a Congressional investigation of the raid. The SWAT team arrest of a pro-life activist from Pennsylvania, coupled with the FBI’s passive response to violence committed by abortion-rights activists, explains Bill Donohue’s request for an investigation.

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“In your role as the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am asking you to convene an investigation, and/or a hearing, on the FBI’s behavior regarding pro-life and abortion-rights activists. There seems to be much interest in pursuing alleged wrongdoing by pro-life activists, yet  little interest in pursuing alleged wrongdoing by abortion-rights activists. Bias of this kind is politically motivated and must stop,” Donohue writes.

Here’s more from the letter:

To be specific, on September 23, Mark Houck, a pro-life activist from Kintnersville, Pennsylvania was arrested by some two dozen SWAT team agents—they came to his house with guns drawn—on grounds that he assaulted an abortion-rights patient escort at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia on October 13, 2021. He is being charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).

Houck says he shoved a man who had been harassing his 12-year-old son in front of the clinic during one of his sidewalk counseling sessions. The charges were reportedly dismissed by the District Court in Philadelphia.

I am not in a position to judge the veracity of the account offered by the FBI or Houck. But it surely seems that the FBI overreacted in its handling of this matter. Houck had seven children at home as the SWAT team pounded on his door, showing up fully armored, yelling at him to open it.

This kind of overreaction for a minor infraction of the law is deeply troubling, and it becomes even more troubling when paired with the underreaction by the Department of Justice when the pro-life side is targeted.

Donohue says the FBI raid is even more concerning when coupled with the fact that the FBI hasn’t yet arrested or prosecuted anyone associated with more than 100 violence incidents against pro-life groups, pregnancy centers and churches ranging from firebombings to arson to vandalism.

On June 17, 2022, I wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to “immediately deploy the full resources of the Department of Justice to apprehend and prosecute domestic terrorists who have recently attacked Catholic individuals, vandalized Catholic churches and torched Catholic-operated crisis pregnancy centers.”

I provided Attorney General Garland with specifics. “We have witnessed a rash of vandalism against Catholic churches, firebombings of crisis pregnancy centers (many of which are run by Catholics), Masses being interrupted, illegal protests outside the homes of Catholic Supreme Court Justices, and an attempted murder of one of the Catholic Justices.” I explicitly cited the work of Jane’s Revenge.

On June 29, we published a list of 16 instances of violence committed by abortion-rights protesters. We now have a list of dozens of Catholic entities, mostly churches, that have been vandalized or otherwise desecrated. (See the attachments.)

Not only did I not receive a response from the attorney general, there have been no news stories on SWAT teams crashing the homes of abortion-rights terrorists. Yet there have been many instances of violence that make “shoving” someone look like child’s play.

Meanwhile, new information shows that the incident in question outside the Philadelphia abortion business was so minor that charges were dismissed — making it clear the Biden administration is exploiting a small concern and persecuting a pro-life family.

According to a new CNA report, the incident was so minor that charges were never pressed and a court ultimately dismissed a complaint the abortion activist filed.

Houck, who regularly prays the rosary outside the clinic, maintains he was defending his 12-year-old son from the escort’s verbal harassment, a family spokesman, Brian Middleton, told CNA on Sunday. The man fell when Houck pushed him away, Middleton said.

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The altercation was captured on a video the Houcks are in the process of locating, Middleton added. As of Sunday the family had not yet hired a lawyer but they expect to do so on Monday, he said.

When both the city police and the district attorney declined to file charges against Houck, the escort filed a private criminal complaint in Philadelphia municipal court, Middleton said. The case was dismissed in July when the man repeatedly didn’t show up in court, Middleton said.

Just days later, Houck received a “target letter” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office informing him that he was the focus of a federal criminal probe into the same incident, Middleton said.

Through his attorney at the time, Houck tried to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office to discuss the case but never received a response, Middleton said.

“The next time they heard anything was Friday morning,” he said.

As National Review reports, “Houck also described an incident in which her husband “shoved” a pro-abortion man away from his 12-year-old son after the man entered “the son’s personal space” and refused to stop hurling “crude… inappropriate and disgusting” comments at the Houcks. The man did not sustain any injuries, but did try to sue Houck.”

Now, likely as a way of intimidating pro-life Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and subsequent abortion bans in many states, the DOJ decided now was a good time to target Houck, raid his home and arrest him in front of his distressed children.

According to his wife, 25-30 armed FBI agents raided their home at 7:05 a.m. His wife said they entered the home and pointed rifles at them as their kids began screaming. His wife and kids watched and they arrested Mark. Per National Review:

On Friday morning, Houck’s rural home was raided by 25 to 30 armed FBI agents, who pounded on the door and yelled at the family to open it, his wife said.

Mark Houck pleaded with the FBI agents before opening the door, telling them “please, I’m going to open the door, but, please, my children are in the home. I have seven babies in the house.”

The agents continued to yell, and when the door was opened, they pointed their guns at the Houcks while instructing the children to go upstairs, according to Ryan-Marie. “The kids were all just screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic,” she said.

The FBI agents proceeded to put Houck into a vehicle and when his wife asked if they had a warrant, she said that they replied that “they were going to take him whether they had a warrant or not.”

After she accused them of kidnapping her husband, they presented her with the first page of the warrant, she said, which showed he was charged with violations of the FACE Act, due to an alleged “ATTACK OF A PATIENT ESCORT.”

Biden’s Justice Department is now charging Houck with violating the FACE Act and Houck is now facing a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000 for merely defending his son from being attacked.

However, Houck never blocked access to the abortion center, which is what the law is designed to stop, and the incident was nothing more than a minor scuffle.

The Houck family is now panicked about what will happen to Mark from here. A GiveSendGo has been set up to help raise funds to support them and to assist with Mark’s legal defense.

Mark Houck was taken to “the federal building in downtown Philadelphia,” his wife told the outlet.

As a result of the incident, the children were “really sad and stressed,” Ryan-Marie said. “I don’t really know what’s going to come of it when you see guns pointed at your dad and your mom in your house when you first wake up in the morning.”