Mark Houck, a pro-life activist, and father of seven was just vindicated in court after the politicized Department of Justice (DOJ) attempted to charge him for defending his son against harassment from a Planned Parenthood escort.
On Monday, Houck was found not guilty on federal assault charges stemming from an altercation on October 13, 2021.
Some folks might mistakenly interpret this as an embarrassing loss for the politicized DOJ, but that would be ignoring their modus operandi, which is to punish people by putting them and their families through this process. In any case, congrats to Mr. Houck for prevailing. https://t.co/k9v7uNp8hs
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 30, 2023
While local authorities had declined to press charges, President Joe Biden’s DOJ decided to go after the 48-year-old pro-life activist — who pushed a Planned Parenthood escort twice because he was verbally harassing his 12-year-old son while they were sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic.
According to critics, the DOJ went overboard in their attempt to prosecute Houck — sending a team of armed FBI agents to his home on September 23, 2022, and arresting him at gunpoint in front of his wife and children.
The DOJ sent a team of federal agents with rifles to the home of a pro-life activist named Mark Houck. Now Houck faces 11 years in prison for protecting his son from an abortion extremist. pic.twitter.com/eFmrnKKSO5
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) September 29, 2022
Houck was accused of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), a law created in 1993 to prosecute crimes at pro-life pregnancy centers that has “been used almost exclusively against pro-life activists,” Catholic News Agency’s Joe Bukuras reported.
The FACE Act outlaws “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 charged with two counts of violating the FACE Act and was facing 11 years in federal prison if found guilty. According to Bukuras, Houck’s supporters “cried and hugged one another” after the not-guilty verdict was read in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
“U.S. District Judge Gerald Pappert himself raised the possibility that the case should never have been brought to trial, asking the prosecution Thursday whether the federal FACE Act didn’t ‘seem to be stretched a little thin here,’” Catholic News Agency’s report continued.
Jury deliberations began on Friday, but the jury was reportedly “deadlocked” by the evening. On Monday, they resumed deliberations, but an alternate juror ended up taking the place of one of the original jurors by 1:30 p.m. Houck was then found not guilty on both counts.
Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation celebrated Houck’s victory while also condemning the Biden administration for their “intimidation against pro-life people.”
“We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome. Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath — the full might of the United States government — and won,” he said. “The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”
40 Days for Life’s General Counsel Matt Britton also spoke out about the victory, asserting that the case was “not just a win for the pro-life movement and Mark, but for free speech and every single American.”
“The federal government trumped up charges months after a local case had been dismissed. If the feds had prevailed, every argument in front of every abortion facility, no matter the subject, could result in federal charges,” he said. “The feds tried to make a point that they would not tolerate pro-life speech and tried to make Mark an example that they would charge and intimidate pro-lifers, all while claiming that they represent democracy and free speech. But not today. The system worked, and justice prevailed.”
Houck appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” following his acquittal to speak about the incident.