Republican lawmakers will hold a hearing next week focusing on the Department of Justice’s targeting of pro-life activists like Mark Houck through the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, The Daily Signal has learned.
On Tuesday morning, the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and limited government will revisit the “Implications of the FACE Act,” examining the shockingly high numbers of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers around the nation as well as President Joe Biden’s administration’s use of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Houck, a Catholic father of seven arrested by the FBI at gunpoint in front of his children, will testify at the hearing on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, The Daily Signal has learned.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the FACE Act, which “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services.” The FACE Act has typically been used to prosecute those accused of attacking abortion clinics, but its language also protects pro-life organizations.
In 2022 alone, the DOJ Civil Rights Division charged 26 pro-life individuals with FACE Act violations. One of these individuals was Houck.
The FBI’s FACE Act charges against Houck stemmed from a 2021 incident outside a Philadelphia-based Planned Parenthood where Houck pushed an abortion clinic volunteer who was repeatedly harassing his son (Mark Jr.). Local authorities ultimately dismissed the matter—until the Biden DOJ re-upped it in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
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Houck and his wife, Ryan-Marie, told The Daily Signal that Biden’s DOJ targeted them in an effort to intimidate, silence, and scare the family for their pro-life work—praying outside abortion clinics for the women headed inside to abort their unborn babies.
The hearing will also focus on the fact that despite the growing number of ideological attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and Catholic churches, the DOJ has only prosecuted a few of these incidents.
Asked in late April how many pro-abortion attacks the DOJ is currently prosecuting under the FACE Act, spokeswoman Aryele Bradford pointed to only the four radical individuals charged in Florida.
As of early May, there have been at least 85 attacks on pregnancy resource centers and 152 attacks on Catholic churches since the May 2022 Dobbs leak. Many of these buildings have been vandalized with threats such as, “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you,” making the attacks incidents of suspected pro-abortion violence.
The extremist group Jane’s Revenge has taken credit for many of these vandalisms and attacks.
“We have demonstrated in the past month how easy and fun it is to attack,” Jane’s Revenge declared in a “communique” missive in mid-June last year amid firebombings. “We are versatile, we are mercurial, and we answer to no one but ourselves. We promised to take increasingly drastic measures against oppressive infrastructures. Rest assured that we will, and those measures may not come in the form of something so easily cleaned up as fire and graffiti.”
“It’s open season,” the militant group promised pro-lifers, “and we know where your operations are.”
During the spring and summer of 2022, GOP lawmakers called for members of Jane’s Revenge to be designated as domestic terrorists “in response to their clear involvement in acts dangerous to human life.”
“These violent acts violate U.S. and state law, and the group itself has claimed intent to intimidate civilians and government officials,” the lawmakers told the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. “You must use the full extent of your powers under the law to fully prosecute these criminals and prevent further crime.”
The DOJ did not designate Jane’s Revenge a terrorist group. The FBI did say at the time that it was “investigating a series of attacks and threats targeting pregnancy resource centers and faith-based organizations across the country.”
Pregnancy resource centers are typically run by pro-life women who seek to offer expectant mothers alternatives to abortion. Such centers provide diapers, baby clothes, and resources for both mothers and fathers, empowering them to care for their children, overcome addictions, build community, and find jobs.