When law enforcement takes sides in the culture wars, confidence in the rule of law erodes.
For example, the FBI has made no arrests in any of the dozens of attacks on pro-life pregnancy resource centers across the country since they became targets of the Left’s anger after the Dobbs decision was leaked in early May. Several of those incidents involved firebombing, which destroyed property, but thankfully resulted in no injuries or deaths.
In contrast, on September 23 a team of heavily armed FBI SWAT members descended on the home of a peace-loving family of nine in rural Pennsylvania with guns drawn to arrest the father, Mark Houck, in front of his wife and terrified children for a minor sidewalk scuffle with a pro-abortion bully … a year ago.
According to Lifesitenews.com, Houck is a 48-year-old pro-life speaker and author, and the founder of a men’s ministry known as The King’s Men. In October 2021, Houck and his 12-year-old son were outside an abortion facility in Philadelphia acting as sidewalk counselors, praying and speaking to abortion-minded women in an attempt to give them hope and to change their minds about undergoing an abortion.
It’s something Houck and his son had done many times. In fact, they went every Wednesday to two different abortion facilities in Philadelphia. Pro-life citizens have been doing this kind of ministry around the world for decades.
However, there was one 72-year-old pro-abortion “escort” who routinely harassed the Houcks, especially Mark’s 12-year-old son, shouting vulgarities at them. Escorts are typically volunteers or employees of the abortion facility who meet women arriving for an abortion and “escort” them into the facility.
On one particular day last October, that “escort” got into the face of Mark’s son, “obscenely ridiculing his father.”
Mark came to the aid of his son, pushing the escort away, who fell. The escort was unhurt, other than requiring a Band-Aid, according to Houck.
The escort later asked the police to arrest Houck for pushing him. They declined.
He asked the local district attorney to prosecute Houck for assault. Also declined.
The escort then attempted to sue Houck in a Philadelphia municipal court in a civil case. The escort’s lawsuit was dismissed this past July.
A few days later, Houck received what is called a “target letter” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office informing him that he was the focus of a federal criminal probe into the same incident. Houck attempted to contact the U.S. Attorney through his own attorney, but never received a response.
At around 7 a.m. on September 23, the FBI showed up en masse at the family’s front door. According to Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie Houck, “A SWAT team of about 25 came to my house with about 15 vehicles and started pounding on our door.”
“They said they were going to break in if he didn’t open it. And then they had about five guns pointed at my husband, myself, and basically at my kids,” she told the Catholic News Agency.
“They were pointing their weapons,” she added. “They came in as if they were expecting some kind of confrontation.”
The FBI arrested Houck for allegedly violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as the FACE Act. That law, passed in 1994, prohibits the use of force or threat of force to obstruct, injure, intimidate or interfere with any person to prevent them from obtaining or providing reproductive health services.
But Houck wasn’t doing anything of the kind. He was protecting his son from a bully.
Houck says there is a video of the incident, which he is trying to locate, that will vindicate him.
The family’s supporters have set up a fundraising campaign for Houck’s defense through the website GiveSendGo.com that as of September 26 has raised over $176,000.
If convicted for violating the FACE Act, Houck could face up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000.
Please pray for the Houck family as they face their current legal problems. And pray that this egregious government overreach is exposed and rescinded before any further damage is done in the life of this pro-life dad and his family.