CV NEWS FEED // Mark Houck, a pro-life activist and Catholic father of seven, was found not guilty on Monday of violating federal law by shoving a “clinic escort” outside of a Planned Parenthood in 2021.
The Biden Justice Department had accused Houck of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. As the Catholic News Agency reported Monday,
Houck, 48, of Kintnersville in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, acknowledged that he twice pushed a volunteer escort outside a Planned Parenthood facility on Oct. 13, 2021, though Houck maintained he did so because the clinic volunteer was verbally harassing Houck’s 12-year-old son.
“Mark Houck and his family are heroes,” said CatholicVote President Brian Burch following the verdict. “Don’t forget readers voted him our CV Hero of the Year for 2022! We are also grateful to the Thomas More Society for their outstanding legal defense in this case.”
“Unfortunately, this is just the beginning,” Burch added:
The FBI and Department of Justice are continuing to persecute peaceful pro-life volunteers – while letting anti-Catholic, pro-abortion terrorists off the hook. Just imagine if the Department of Justice spent as much time pursuing pro-abortion terrorists as they are hunting down peaceful pro-life advocates.
Today and every day, CatholicVote will continue to fight for equal protection under the law for all Catholics – as well as every pro-life activist wrongly charged by the Biden administration.
The “shoving” incident, the FACE Act violation Houck was found not guilty of on Monday, was not deemed worthy of prosecution by local authorities, who dropped it.
But in September 2022, the Biden Justice Department tackled the case, sending a team of armed FBI agents to dramatically arrest Houck at gunpoint in the early hours of the morning while his wife and children looked on.
The arrest sparked a nationwide backlash, with commentators (including some Republican lawmakers) accusing the Biden administration of needlessly frightening Houck’s family in order to indirectly intimidate and silence pro-life Americans.
“Remember, this is the Catholic man Biden DOJ arrested in a SWAT-style raid at his home. In front of his children. On bogus charges,” wrote Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, in response to Monday’s verdict. “All to intimidate pro-life Americans & people of faith.”
Houck’s verdict also comes as the Biden Justice Department faces nationwide scrutiny for what critics call its selective application of federal law.
Since the May 2022 leak of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe vs. Wade, CatholicVote has tracked 80 attacks on pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations and 124 attacks against Catholic churches.
Many of these attacks, which range from disruptions of Holy Mass to firebombings and other acts of massive property destruction, were crimes committed openly in the name of “revenge” for the Court’s pro-life ruling. Some of the worst attacks occurred in May, June, and July of last year.
Yet from May 2022 to mid-January 2023, the DOJ had charged only 26 Americans under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act – all of them pro-life activists.
Last week, when the agency charged two pro-abortion radicals under the FACE Act, it was a first.
“To date, the federal government has only found evidence to charge two individuals involved in a small handful of cases, despite hundreds of actual incidences of violence over the past two years,” Burch stated at the time. “These charges only recently came to light after heavy public pressure, indicating that the more sunshine Congress shines on the indifference of the DOJ, the more likely they are to do their job.”