Veteran Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck described to Steve Bannon Tuesday the scene at his family’s home on September 23, 2022, when over 20 FBI agents and Pennsylvania state troopers banged on his door at 6:45 a.m.
Houck was found not guilty by a jury in federal court Monday of alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act after being prosecuted by the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) for his pro-life work.
As a guest on Bannon’s War Room, Houck related the story of how the FBI terrorized his family and arrested him on behalf of the Biden DOJ.
On October 13, 2021, Houck said he and his son were praying the rosary outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood facility – where Houck has peacefully prayed and performed sidewalk counseling regularly for 20 years.
On this particular day, Houck said he and his son began speaking with a woman who had just come out of the abortion clinic, shared some literature with her, and then walked with her to the pro-life pregnancy resource center about 50 feet away.
At that time, Houck related, “an abortion escort volunteer interfered with that encounter, engagement, and basically violated my First Amendment rights.”
The pro-life activist said the abortion clinic volunteer then “got between me and the young lady I was talking to, and there was a bit of a bump and so forth there.”
Houck explained further:
And from there, it ensued to go back to the sidewalk where my son was, and continue our prayer vigil. About 30 minutes later, the same volunteer escort comes out of the building and places himself right next to my son, literally a foot away from my 12 year old boy. And now I’ve had encounters with him in the past verbally that weren’t great. A lot of obscenity, a lot of profanity, a lot of vulgarity. He said things like – and I hope it doesn’t offend your audience – but, in front of my son, he’ll say why don’t you go home and masturbate? He’ll call me an effing a hole in front of my son. And he was having conversation with my son that day and I told him you don’t have permission to talk to my son. And I’ve told him that over and over again over the years. But he just continued to press it and push.
Houck said his son became “nervous and uncomfortable” with the abortion clinic volunteer’s continued presence, and he “stepped away and got behind me.”
“I said go back to where you normally stand,” the pro-life activist told the abortion worker. “’Leave us alone,’ very forcefully, I did tell him that. He started to move as I kind of escorted him back. I turned back to be with my son. He wheeled and started to talk to my son again, and then I turned and pushed him. That was the origin, the genesis of what eventually became a 6:45 in the morning raid of my home on September 23.”
Houck was charged with a violation of the FACE Act, which was signed into law in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton.
Had he been found guilty, he could have spent 11 years in federal prison and fined over $300,000.
Houck, who was represented by the Thomas More Society, said on the morning of the raid, while his wife and children were still asleep, the FBI repeatedly banged on his door and rang his doorbell, shouting, “Open up!”
“They didn’t even declare who they were,” he said. “They didn’t even state their names. They didn’t tell me anything.”
Houck said he asked who it was before opening the door and “then they finally told me it was the FBI, to which I replied ‘okay, I’m going to open the door.’”
“As I opened the door, I could not believe the circus scene that I saw,” he related. “At least 10 or 15 marked and unmarked units were right in front of me, surrounding the side of my house … cars lined all the way up to the street, long guns pointed at me, heavily armored vests, ballistic helmets, ballistic shields, battering ram.”
Houck said he asked what they were doing at his home, and the response was, “You know why we’re here.”
“You’re here because I rescue babies,” he said he replied to them. “And then I looked at all of them, Steve, and I said, ‘You wouldn’t be here if the Trump administration was in the White House.’”
“And none of them said anything,” he noted. “They just looked at me.”
Houck said he was arrested in front of his children, who were all crying.
In a statement sent to The Star News Network, CatholicVote President Brian Burch said Houck’s acquittal “confirms that the Biden administration unjustly sought to destroy the life of an innocent father for exercising his First Amendment rights in defense of the unborn.”
Burch elaborated on the apparent intention of the treatment Houck received from the Biden DOJ:
The Biden Department of Justice approved an early morning raid on his home and ruthlessly sought to prop him up as an example to assuage the pro-abortion mob. Meanwhile pro-life pregnancy resource centers and churches are under widespread violent attack and yet, to date, the federal government has taken almost no meaningful action in their defense.
“The misguided prosecution of Mr. Houck certainly appears to be an attempt by the DOJ to intimidate pro-life Americans and distract from its own negligence when it comes to defending innocent political opponents of the administration,” the Catholic leader concluded.
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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mark Houck and Family” by Thomas More Society.