Pro-life activist and Catholic father of seven Mark Houck is fighting back after he was arrested by some 20 armed FBI agents at his Pennsylvania home early Friday morning in front of his children and wife.
The Department of Justice is targeting Houck, who leads a nonprofit group that provides sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics in Philadelphia, over an incident last year involving his then-12-year-old son at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. The family says Houck, who is now facing 11 years behind bars and fines up to $350,000, was defending his son from a harassing pro-abortion activist.
Houck’s attorney is slamming the targeting as blatant “political prosecution,” and the Catholic father has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“This is a political prosecution,” asserted attorney Peter Breen, Thomas More Society vice president.
Breen went further, saying the Biden DOJ acted against Houck to “send a message” to pro-life Americans.
“And what’s clear from the Department of Justice at its highest levels, which is directing this case, [is] that they are trying to send a message to pro-life and people of faith: ‘Don’t mess with us,’” he said. “They want to intimidate — they want to cause good people like Mark to stop praying and counseling at the abortion clinics of our country. And that’s not going to happen.”
“What in the world would possess the Department of Justice to send 20 or so heavily armed agents to this family’s home, violate the sanctity of that home, frighten the children and then drag their father away instead of allowing us to present him peacefully, which we had offered to do?” the attorney questioned.
Breen said earlier this week that though they felt there was no federal case, his client would have appeared voluntarily; instead, Houck was treated “as if he was a drug lord or a mafia boss.”
“Rather than accepting Mark Houck’s offer to appear voluntarily, the Biden Department of Justice chose to make an unnecessary show of potentially deadly force, sending twenty heavily armed federal agents to the Houck residence at dawn this past Friday,” he said.
“It put officers’ lives in danger. It put the Houck family in danger. And it was an utter waste of judicial resources and taxpayer resources,” Breen noted, adding that it was curious the charges took so long if Houck was such a supposed danger.
U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said Friday that Houck was charged by indictment with violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act for allegedly assaulting a person who provides abortion-related services.
A GiveSendGo account for the Houck family says the activist was praying in front of the Planned Parenthood with his son and reacted to a pro-abortion activist harassing the 12-year-old child.
“Last year, Mark and his son were praying in front of the [Planned Parenthood] at 12th and Locust,” the account says. “When one of the escorts began harassing Mark’s son they walked down the street away from the entrance to the building. The escort followed them, and when he continued yelling at Mark’s son, Mark pushed him away.”
“It’s all on video,” the post continues. “But that hasn’t stopped Planned Parenthood and the Biden Administration. With no prior warning, and in spite of the fact that Mark is represented by an attorney, Biden’s Justice Department sent a fully armed SWAT team into a home full of young children at daybreak, to arrest a father for protecting his son.”