Pennsylvania Pro-Life Advocate to Appear in Federal Court Following Dawn SWAT Raid

By Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.
September 26, 2022 Updated: September 27, 2022

A pro-life advocate and father of seven will appear in federal court in Philadelphia on Sept. 27 to face charges that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) outside a Pennsylvania abortion clinic nearly a year ago.

Mark Houck, a Catholic pro-life speaker and author from Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, is accused of twice physically assaulting a patient escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic during an altercation in October 2021.

On Sept. 23, a heavily armed Justice Department SWAT team arrested the 48-year-old Houck at his home at gunpoint, placing him in handcuffs while his terrified wife and children looked on.

Houck became the latest target of President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice solely to “intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans,” said Peter Breen, an attorney at the Thomas Moore Society, a national non-profit law firm representing Houck in the case.

“Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court,” Breen said in a Sept. 26 statement.

About 20 heavily armed FBI agents stormed Houck’s home at daybreak on Sept. 23, pointing guns at his head and then arresting him in front of his wife Ryan-Marie and their young children.

He faces two counts of physically assaulting the patient escort.

In June, Thomas Moore Society attorneys notified the DOJ that the FACE Act does not cover one-on-one altercations like the one involving Houck, which they claimed was initiated by an abortion supporter harassing Houck’s son.

The attorneys also advised that Houck would appear in court voluntarily to face any charges against him.

“Rather than accepting Mark Houck’s offer to appear voluntarily, the Biden Department of Justice chose to make an unnecessary show of potentially deadly force, sending 20 heavily armed federal agents to the Houck residence at dawn this past Friday,” Breen said in the statement.

“In threatening form, after nearly breaking down the family’s front door, at least five agents pointed guns at Mark’s head and arrested him in front of his wife and seven young children, who were terrified that their husband and father would be shot dead before their eyes.”

Donations continued to pour in for the Houck family via the Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, which totaled $137,000 as of Sept. 25.

Mark Houck faces up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000 if convicted.

In June 2019, Thomas Moore Society attorneys won a similar case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, establishing that a one-off altercation cannot form the basis for a FACE Act complaint.

Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.