Pro-Life Activist Acquitted After Allegedly Assaulting Volunteer at Abortion Clinic
Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck was acquitted after allegedly breaking a federal law that protects anyone associated with abortion clinics.
Houck counsels women outside abortions clinics through a non-profit group he leads based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Houck assaulted and “forcefully shoved” 72-year-old Bruce Love “because he was a volunteer reproductive health care clinic escort.”
U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero talked about the incident in a DOJ release.
“Assault is always a serious offense, and under the [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances] FACE Act, if the victim is targeted because of their association with a reproductive healthcare clinic, it is a federal crime,” she said. “Our Office and the Department of Justice are committed to prosecuting crimes which threaten the safety and rights of all individuals.”
The FACE Act is a federal law that prohibits “intentionally injuring, intimidating, or interfering with, or attempting to injure, intimidate, or interfere, any person by force, threat of force, or physical obstruction because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services.”
Had he been convicted, Houck faced 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fined $350,000. He pleaded not guilty, according to Daily Wire.
However, Houck and his attorney claimed this was “a political prosecution” meant to “send a message” to pro-life Americans.
“And what’s clear from the Department of Justice at its highest levels, which is directing this case, [is] that they are trying to send a message to pro-life and people of faith: ‘Don’t mess with us.’ They want to intimidate — they want to cause good people like Mark to stop praying and counseling at the abortion clinics of our country. And that’s not going to happen,” Peter Breen, vice president of the law firm Thomas More Society, told Fox News.
Breen also claimed Houck was harmless and “a peaceful pillar of the community.”
“If he was truly a danger to the community, they wouldn’t have waited a year to prosecute,” he said.
He added, “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?”
Breen said that Love was “extremely aggressive” and that he harassed Houck’s 12-year-old son prior to the altercation, according to Fox News.
BREAKING: Mark Houck, Catholic Pro-Life Activist Facing 11 Years In Prison, Acquitted At Trial https://t.co/GYmvqawCIQ pic.twitter.com/oKgEDYKoCB
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) January 30, 2023
Houck’s lawyers argued that the FACE Act does not protect anyone who is involved with an abortion clinic despite what the Department of Justice said.
“The FACE Act was never intended to cover disputes between advocates on the public sidewalks outside of our nation’s abortion clinics. 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,” Breen said in a statement on the Thomas More Society website.
On Monday, Houck was acquitted by a jury following the week-long trial. Breen said in a statement they were “thrilled with the outcome” but blamed Biden for the Department of Justice’s “intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”
“We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome. Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath – the full might of the United States government – and won,” he said.
He added this was a win for Houck and “the entire pro-life movement.”
“The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place,” he said.
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