The FBI raid on the rural Pennsylvania home of Mark Houck and his family on September 23 has not only generated widespread media reporting but has also caught the eyes of members of Congress, who are demanding answers from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
As the Daily Citizen recently reported, Houck is the married father of seven who took his 12-year-old son with him to Philadelphia in October 2021 to act as sidewalk counselors in front of two separate abortion facilities. After a pro-abortion “escort” started berating Houck’s son in a very up close and intimidating manner, Houck went to his son’s defense and shoved the man away.
The escort sought to press charges against Houck at the time, but the local police and district attorney were not interested in the minor sidewalk scuffle. A lawsuit initiated by the escort was thrown out of court earlier this summer when the escort didn’t even bother to show up for scheduled court dates.
But suddenly the U.S. Attorney got involved, resulting in the raid, with guns drawn, by approximately 20 FBI agents. A couple months ago, after receiving a letter from the U.S. Attorney, Houck had, through his own attorney, voluntarily offered to appear and give himself up if the U.S. Attorney desired. However, Houck received nothing but silence from the government until the FBI showed up in force with guns drawn and pounded on his front door, terrifying his wife and children in the process.
That chain of events is not sitting well with some members of Congress.
Twenty-two members of Congress, including members of both the House and Senate, signed onto a letter dated September 27 to the Attorney General, requesting “an explanation for the excessive level of force used by the FBI in this case, and why the power of federal law enforcement was once again used against an American citizen in what should be a state and local matter.”
The U.S. is charging Houck with a violation of a federal law that protects abortion clinics called the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as the FACE Act. Houck’s indictment by a federal grand jury was announced the same day as the raid on his home.
Houck has pleaded not guilty to the charges, Fox News reports.
Peter Breen, Houck’s attorney, is calling the harassment of his client a “political prosecution.”
“This is a political prosecution,” Breen said. “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.”
Another U.S. Senator who has delivered his own letter to AG Garland is Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who is a member of the Senate Judiciary committee.
“If the shocking reports about the FBI arresting a man Friday in rural Pennsylvania are true, then you have a lot to answer for,” Hawley’s letter begins.
Hawley pointedly asked Garland why the FBI has yet to bring a single perpetrator to justice in the over 100 attacks on pregnancy resource centers and churches across the nation this summer following the leak of the Supreme Court’ opinion in the Dobbs case in early May.
“The reports are especially shocking given that your office has so far turned a blind eye to the epidemic of violence across the country by pro-abortion extremists against pregnancy resource centers, houses of worship, and pro-life Americans—violent acts that are prohibited by the very same law under which you are charging Mark Houck,” Hawley wrote.
Hawley concludes by giving Garland 10 days to respond, and suggests that it may be appropriate for the Senate Judiciary Committee to request that the AG appear and testify under oath about the FBI raid on the Houck home and the absence of any similar effort in the case of the attacks on pregnancy resource centers.
For its part, the FBI defended its actions in a statement to Fox News:
“Extensive planning takes place prior to the service of any federal warrant. The FBI then employs the personnel and tactics deemed necessary to effect a safe arrest or search,” FBI Philadelphia said. “While it’s the FBI’s standard practice not to discuss such operational specifics, we can say that the number of personnel and vehicles widely reported as being on scene Friday is an overstatement, and the tactics used by FBI personnel were professional, in line with standard practices, and intended to ensure the safety of everyone present in and outside the residence.”
The FBI’s claim is disputed, however.
Houck’s attorney said the U.S. Department of Justice is treating Houck “as if he was a drug lord or a mafia boss.”
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