Pro-life activist Mark Houck is suing Joe Biden and his Department of Justice over the bogus FBI raid on his family home and the politicized prosecution against him for merely protesting abortion.
The Biden administration continues targeting pro-life Americans for peacefully protesting abortion, contending they are breaking a law that makes it illegal to block access to abortion businesses. In Houck’s case, he won a massive pro-life victory in federal court when a jury dismissed the trumped up charges against him.
Houck was facing bogus charges that he violated the federal FACE law when he was helping women outside an abortion center. An abortion business escort accosted and bullied his son and Houck stepped in to stop it – and, in doing so, the older abortion center volunteer fell down. Houck could have faced over a decade in prison if he was found guilty.
Houck made national headlines last year after 20 heavily-armed federal agents stormed his home at dawn on September 23 — frightening his family, pointing guns at his head, and then arresting him in front of his wife and seven young children.
And now Houck is suing, seeking $4.3 million related to the “faulty” investigation led to an excessively forceful arrest and a “malicious and retaliatory prosecution” that has severely impacted their entire family. Houck and his family filed two claims for a total of $4.35 million in damages due to the FBI’s unconstitutional, “malicious,” and “corrupt” use of “excessive force.”
Mark Houck and Ryan-Marie Houck say in their legal filings obtained by The Federalist that their seven children continue to suffer as a result of the FBI raiding — with battering rams, ballistic shields, armor, and long rifles — the home of a nonviolent pro-lifer who didn’t own any guns and whose seven children were just waking for breakfast.
The Houcks “have lost three babies from miscarriages due to the stress of the FBI’s conduct and resulting prosecution” and subsequently been diagnosed with infertility, Ryan-Marie Houck’s filing says. She says she still cries for hours and the family’s high anxiety provoked by the raid has caused them to install security cameras and rarely leave home.
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In the Sept. 23, 2022 raid, “Government agents aimed rifles and handguns at Mr. Houck from his porch and from behind vehicles in his yard and driveway,” Ryan-Marie Houcks’ complaint says. “They also aimed their weapons at Mrs. Houck, who slowly walked down a staircase to approach the Houcks’ front door. Mrs. Houck approached after Mr. Houck had already walked peacefully outside with his hands up. Any bullet that missed Mr. Houck could have struck Mrs. Houck or her children, who were stirring throughout the house and had gathered behind her on the staircase. The entire family was located directly downrange.”
The sunrise raid that included approximately 20 law enforcement officers was conducted after Mark Houck’s lawyer had informed the Department of Justice he would voluntarily turn himself in if requested. Mark Houck’s complaint says his 9-year-old daughter was terrified to find two officers dressed in black carrying rifles looking into their home through a back window.
The Houcks’ lawsuits say that, as a result of the “unnecessary” raid, “The children continually come to her [Ryan-Marie] crying and suffering from nightmares.” Ryan-Marie and their five oldest children, ages 7 to 13, now must take medication “to get a few hours of sleep” each night.
“Joshua was six years old at the time he saw his father taken away at gun point,” says Ryan-Marie’s complaint. “He cried the entire time and yelled to the FBI, ‘Please don’t take him he is my best friend.’ To this day, any time someone brings up the raid or tells the story, he starts to cry as if he is reliving the day all over again. He constantly worries that he will lose his father or mother.”
With the help of pro-life attorneys during an appearance in federal court, Houck pleaded not guilty in Pennsylvania federal court to violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to use force with the intent to injure, intimidate and interfere with anyone trying to access either abortion at an abortion business or medical care at a pregnancy center.
Houck’s attorney, Peter Breen, said that the case already made its way through the state court process and was thrown out, but the Biden Department of Justice took up the matter nearly a year later as a form of “political prosecution.”
“If he was truly a danger to the community, they wouldn’t have waited a year to prosecute,” Breen, VP senior counsel of the Thomas Moore Society, said outside the courthouse. “Serious questions need to be asked of the Attorney General. What was he thinking? Why did they do this obscene show of force against a peaceful pillar of the community?”
“It put officers’ lives in danger. It put the Houck family in danger. And it was an utter waste of judicial resources and taxpayer resources,” Breen said.
Houck, a father of seven, is frequently seen sidewalk counseling in front of Philadelphia abortion businesses to help women choose pro-life alternatives.
In October 2021, Houck was involved in an incident outside a Philadelphia abortion business where a pro-abortion clinic escort had repeatedly bullied and intimidated his 12-year-old son who was with him to help sidewalk counsel and encourage women to choose pro-life alternatives. After multiple verbal assaults and the abortion activist getting into his son’s face, Houck pushed him away and he fell.
Houck, who regularly prays the rosary outside the clinic, maintains he was defending his 12-year-old son from the escort’s verbal harassment, a family spokesman, Brian Middleton, told CNA. The man fell when Houck pushed him away, Middleton said. The incident was so minor that charges were never pressed and a court ultimately dismissed a complaint the abortion activist filed.
In June 2022, Thomas More Society attorneys notified the Biden Department of Justice that the FACE Act does not cover one-on-one altercations like the one involving Houck, which was initiated by the abortion proponent who was harassing Houck’s son. The Department of Justice was also advised that if the decision was made to bring a charge against Houck despite lack of legal foundation, Houck would appear voluntarily.
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