WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Mark Houck, the pro-life Catholic father of seven who was subjected to a guns-drawn early morning raid by the Biden administration’s FBI last year before he was fully acquitted of felony charges in January, said he was “blessed to be able to share” his testimony with lawmakers on the Republican-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
During the May 16 hearing on “Revisiting the Implications of the FACE Act,” Republicans highlighted Houck’s story — broken by LifeSiteNews last year — as they argued that the Biden administration has selectively enforced the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act to target pro-life advocates and organizations.
Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson called on Houck as the first witness following an opening statement blasting the Biden administration for its “brazen and unwarranted” raid against Houck and alleged targeting of other pro-lifers even while “radical left-wing groups go unpunished.”
During his five-minute testimony, Houck told lawmakers he has been involved in pro-life work including protests and prayer vigils “in front of many abortuaries in Philadelphia” for 20 years, explaining his involvement was “always peaceful.” He went on to recount the 2021 events that would later spark an FBI raid, which LifeSiteNews has extensively reported.
Houck said the much-publicized sidewalk altercation that culminated in him pushing an aggressive abortion volunteer away from his young son had not been picked up by local authorities. The Biden administration’s Department of Justice later took it up, however, and carried out a dawn raid on Houck and his family on September 23, 2022, despite the fact that Houck offered to turn himself in voluntarily after being notified of the indictment. Houck, who pleaded not guilty to both charges, was fully acquitted on January 30 by a unanimous jury.
UPDATE (01/30/23): Mark Houck has been AQUITTED on both charges!
Thanks be to God LifeSiteNews can report that Mark Houck has been found “Not Guilty” on all counts today.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania spokeswoman and Houck family friend Ashley Garecht said “We rejoice and celebrate that Mark Houck has been found not guilty on all counts.”
“This case was always about a father’s right to protect his son, and never had anything to do with the FACE act,” she said. “We are grateful to the judge for his integrity, and to the jurors for their thoughtful deliberations. We are grateful to Mark’s attorneys who labored so diligently in his defense. And we are grateful for all of those who surrounded and supported Mark and his family in prayer through this challenging ordeal.”
“Most of all we praise and thank God for his protection and provision,” Garecht added. “To Him be all the glory.”
The Thomas More Society is set to hold a press conference today on the 6th street side of the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia.
Monday’s verdict came after a tense weekend wait following a deadlocked jury on Friday.
Several hours into Monday’s deliberations after the jury reconvened, an alternate was chosen to replace one of the jurors. Just before 3:00 p.m. EST, the jury delivered its verdict, acquitting Houck on both charges.
Mark Houck, a pro-life Catholic father of 7, became the latest victim of an FBI raid and arrest on the morning of Friday September 23 — for supposed “FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act” violations — at his rural home as his children looked on “screaming.”
The arrest and raid stems from an altercation with a Planned Parenthood worker.
According to Mark’s wife Ryan-Marie, a “pro-abortion protester” would verbally harrass Mark’s 12-year old son — hurling vulgar and derogatory statements.
When the protestor encroached in the boy’s space, Mark defended his son. At that point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back,” Ryan-Marie recounts.
The protestor was not injured, but he tried to sue Mark Houck for the assault but his case was thrown out of court in the early summer.
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE LEFT TO HARRASS PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES THIS WAY!
It’s vital to stand in solidarity with a pro-family and pro-life man being unjustly persecuted – please SIGN & SHARE our message of support now.
In case you hadn’t caught on already, the satanic Biden administration is waging war on Christians. https://t.co/E6ChpZVDYW
— Michael (X) Knowles ✊ (@michaeljknowles) September 24, 2022
The description of this arrest sounds like it took place in a totalitarian state. A tragic unraveling of Justice in America. https://t.co/e3vEID7E39
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 25, 2022
If convicted, Houck faces up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000, according to the Justice Department.
Additional conservative pro-life leaders have weighed in — this is why we need your support ASAP.
“Just in the last few days we’ve seen some pretty glaring examples of what appear to be instances of DOJ [Department of Justice] overreach. You’ve got a Catholic father of seven who formed a group designed to encourage young men to be faithful to their commitments, arrested in front of his seven children just recently. You’ve got all these instances of overreach. It’s deeply concerning to us all. These are all things we’re gonna be looking into.” — US Senator Mike Lee
Tell the Houck family that you stand by them!
SIGN: We stand with pro-life Catholic dad of 7 raided by Biden’s FBI
Please share this petition widely. Let’s stand in solidarity with Mark Houck and his family.
Thanking the lawmakers for inviting him to the Houck said he was “blessed to be able to share” his testimony.
“God bless you, Mr. Houck, what you had to go through,” said Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Arguing that “politics is driving the agenda in far too many agencies in our government,” Rep. Jordan said conservatives and pro-lifers like Houck have been “targeted by our government,” something he said is “not supposed to happen in the greatest nation ever, where we have a Bill of Rights, we have a Constitution, we have the rule of law.”
During the question and answer session, Jordan said that authorities had used “common sense” when they opted not to prosecute Houck and blasted the Biden administration for sending the FBI to his door after he had “volunteered to turn [himself] in.”
Asked why he thought the Biden administration did so, Houck responded that he had “been thinking about that for many months,” and concluded that “the intention was to humiliate me, to scare my children, and to instill fear in pro-life America.”
Linking Houck’s arrest and prosecution with the since-retracted Richmond, Virginia, FBI memo directing surveillance of certain “radical traditionalist Catholics” (Houck clarified that he attends a Novus Ordo Mass), Jordan suggested that Houck was targeted by the FBI because he is a “pro-life, pro-family Catholic.”
“You were the example, and that is how pervasive this political attitude is,” Jordan said, blasting the FBI for reportedly employing “informants and snitches inside the Catholic church to go rat out people like Mark Houck.”
Later in the hearing Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy asked Houck whether the Biden administration has apologized to Houck for the raid and prosecution. Houck responded that he had received no such apology.
RELATED: Biden AG Merrick Garland admits FBI memo targeting Latin Mass Catholics was ‘appalling’
During the two-hour hearing, Republican and Democrat lawmakers questioned numerous other witnesses about the FACE Act and its application in relation to both pro-life resource centers and abortion facilities.
Republicans insisted that the Biden administration has “selectively enforced” the FACE act to go after pro-lifers like Houck while failing to prosecute the more than 100 attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers since the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked last year.
For their part, Democrats alleged that Republicans were spreading “disinformation” and a “false narrative,” claiming the federal government is not targeting pro-lifers, who they said posed more of a threat than pro-abortion activists, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of recent abortion-related political violence has been targeted at pro-life organizations.
They said Republicans were engaging in “manufactured outrage” while repeatedly slamming an as-yet nonexistent nationwide abortion ban.
Talcott Camp, Chief Legal & Strategy Officer for the National Abortion Federation (NAF) — a coalition of abortionists — cited a recent report by her organization that alleged a sharp uptick in “anti-abortion violence,” which NAF defines to include attempts by pro-life advocates to convince women not to abort their babies. The report explicitly downplays violence against pro-life centers, deriding them as “fake clinics” and “another tactic in the war on bodily autonomy.”
However, Rep. Roy cited FBI Director Christopher Wray who said that 70% of abortion-related violence in the wake of the overthrow of Roe v. Wade last summer has been against pro-life groups and churches, not pro-abortion organizations.
Making their case that the federal government has unfairly targeted pro-life conservatives, Republicans noted that, to date, just four pro-abortion activists have been indicted for vandalism since the fall of Roe v. Wade in June, all of whom are charged with violating the FACE act for an attack on a pro-life pregnancy center in Florida.
Meanwhile, the federal government has prosecuted pro-life advocates like Mark Houck and Eva Edl, the 87-year-old concentration camp survivor who was charged with federal crimes for her involvement in a peaceful protest inside a Nashville, Tennessee, abortion clinic.
RELATED: 87-year-old concentration camp survivor among 11 pro-lifers hit with federal charges in latest FBI crackdown
Houck’s participation in Tuesday’s hearing comes after Houck said in February that he was able to speak with sympathetic members of Congress when he attended the State of the Union address.
The pro-life dad has said he wants to ensure that Planned Parenthood and the Biden FBI are “held to account,” and to prevent the federal government from being weaponized against any other pro-life advocates. In February, Houck said he was “most definitely” planning to press charges against the Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) for the “reckless” FBI raid that “terrorized” his young children.