Mark Houck believes his arrest was attempt by DOJ ‘to instill fear’ in pro-lifers

On Tuesday morning, Republican lawmakers held a hearing regarding the Department of Justice’s targeting of pro-life activists under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. Among those testifying was Mark Houck, the sidewalk counselor who made headlines when FBI agents stormed his home on the morning of September 23, 2022, reportedly traumatizing his seven children as they arrested him. Houck, who was charged with violating the FACE Act, was later acquitted of all charges.

Houck began his testimony by describing the events that occurred on October 13, 2021, when an abortion facility escort named Bruce Love allegedly badgered and verbally harrassed Houck’s 12-year-old son, despite Houck’s requests that he stop doing so. As the situation escalated and Love continued to harass Houck’s son, Houck admitted that he went into “dad mode” and pushed Love, causing him to fall to the ground. Houck gave his information to authorities, noting that the Philadelphia PD and the district attorney eventually dismissed the case.

Five days after the case was dismissed, Houck received a letter informing him that he was a “target” for a federal indictment.

Although Houck’s attorneys responded to the April letter saying that he would peacefully turn himself in, they received no response. On the morning of September 23, Houck said his home was raided by 10 unmarked and marked units, including state troopers and federal law enforcement personnel.

“I had five federal agents on my doorstep at 6:30 in the morning, with long guns pointed at me and my seven children. They banged on the door and they said, ‘Open up,’ they did not even declare who they were that day.”

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Houck explains that though he opened the door peacefully and asked them to please remain calm on behalf of his children, they pointed M-16 guns and himself and his wife. When she asked if they had a warrant for his arrest, they replied, “We’re taking him with or without a warrant.”

Houck’s in-depth testimony of the day’s events can be seen here, in his exclusive interview with Live Action founder and president Lila Rose.

Rep. Jim Jordan asked Houck why he believes he was targeted. Houck responded, “To humiliate me, to scare my children, and to instill fear in pro-life America.” Houck also touched on the trauma the raid caused his seven children.

“My children were downrange of many guns, they were screaming through the whole process, and the committee should know they were traumatized,” he said.

Later, Rep. Harriet Hageman asked a National Abortion Federation representative if such extreme actions had ever been taken against a pro-abortion activist.

“Can you point to even one situation where the Department of Justice or FBI treated a pro-abortion attacker, protestor, arsonist, vandalizer, rioter, or attacker similar to how they treated Mr. Houck?” she asked.

The NAF representative could not give any instance to fit Hageman’s question. “We track violence against those who access abortion care,” she said. “We don’t track other kinds of violence.”

Though Hageman pressed the woman, she is unable to give any example in which a pro-abortion activist was treated with the same violence as Houck. “Ok, that’s what I thought,” concluded Hageman.

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