Trial for sidewalk counselor raided by the FBI officially begins

The trial against Mark Houck, a sidewalk counselor whose home was raided by the FBI, began today. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging him with violating the FACE Act, and he is facing up to 11 years in prison.

Houck’s home was raided in September 2022 by 15-20 FBI armed agents in tactical gear early in the morning, in front of Houck’s terrified wife and seven children. Family friend and spokesman Brian Middleton said that at the time, Houck’s children were “crying and screaming” and “traumatized.”

Regularly serving as a sidewalk counselor in front of a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood, Houck got into an altercation with one of the escorts at the abortion facility in October of 2021. The escort reportedly was antagonizing and verbally attacking Houck’s 12-year-old son.

“Repeatedly, Mark would tell this pro-abortion man that he did not have permission to speak to his son and please refrain from doing so. And ‘he kept doing it and kind of came into [the son’s] personal space’ obscenely ridiculing his father. At this point, ‘Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back,’” Houck’s wife told LifeSiteNews last year. “He didn’t have any injuries or anything, but he tried to sue Mark.”

Walgreens CVS banner

Local officials did arrive on the scene, but chose not to arrest anyone. The escort filed a private criminal complaint, but it was ultimately thrown out when the escort repeatedly failed to appear in court. Less than a week later, the DOJ became involved.

Houck is being represented by the Thomas More Society, which recently pointed out that the FACE Act specifically excludes abortion facility escorts.

“The FACE Act was never intended to cover disputes between advocates on the public sidewalks outside of our nation’s abortion clinics,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, said in a recent press release. “This new evidence shows clearly that Congress intended to limit the FACE Act to patients and staff working in the clinic, and not to take sides between pro-life and pro-choice counselors and escorts on the sidewalk. The Biden Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mark Houck is pure harassment, meant solely to intimidate our nation’s pro-life sidewalk counselors who provide vital resources to help pregnant women at risk for abortion.”

The jury will be sworn in tomorrow morning. The Thomas More Society is seeking a dismissal of all charges, and alleges that the charges are meant to intimidate pro-life Americans.

“The Biden administration has filed two brazenly defective and discriminatory charges against Mark Houck under the FACE Act, and both should be dismissed,” Breen said in a new press release, published today. “Both counts allege that Mark Houck interfered with a so-called volunteer abortion patient escort, when in reality, Houck had a one-off altercation with a man who harassed Houck’s minor son, approximately 100 feet from the abortion business and across the street. This case is being brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans. Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court.”

Did you know that as little as $10 a month is enough to reach more than 3,000 moms and dads with the truth about abortion this year? Click here to start saving lives 365 days a year.

What is Live Action News?

Live Action News is pro-life news and commentary from a pro-life perspective. Learn More

Contact for questions, corrections, or if you are seeking permission to reprint any Live Action News content.

GUEST ARTICLES: To submit a guest article to Live Action News, email with an attached Word document of 800-1000 words. Please also attach any photos relevant to your submission if applicable. If your submission is accepted for publication, you will be notified within three weeks. Guest articles are not compensated. (See here for Open License Agreement.) Thank you for your interest in Live Action News!

To Top