The FBI has targeted peaceful pro-life protesters for arrest, using heavy-handed tactics that should shock the conscience of every freedom-loving American.
In one such case, about twenty armed FBI agents conducted a dawn raid on September 23rd at the home of a pro-life advocate, Mark Houck, who is the father of seven children. Mr. Houck is being charged with violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (the FACE Act) outside of a Pennsylvania abortion facility in October 2021. FACE Act violations carry a prison term of up to eleven years. The Thomas More Society is defending Mr. Houck in court.
Thomas More Society’s Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen said that the Biden Department of Justice had rejected Mr. Houck’s offer to appear in court voluntarily to answer the charges. Instead, the Department of Justice dispatched the FBI’s storm agents to Mr. Houck’s home to arrest him at gunpoint.
“Rather than accepting Mark Houck’s offer to appear voluntarily, the Biden Department of Justice chose to make a show of potentially deadly force, sending twenty heavily armed federal agents to the Houck residence at dawn,” Mr. Breen said. “In threatening form, after nearly breaking down the family’s front door, at least five agents pointed guns at Mark 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.”
The incident leading to Mr. Houck’s arrest occurred during the course of Mr. Houck’s presence outside of an abortion clinic to pray and offer pro-life counseling support to women considering an abortion. He was accompanied by his 12-year-old son. An overly aggressive pro-abortion activist, who was serving as an escort for women seeking to enter the abortion facility, targeted the boy repeatedly with “vulgar verbal attacks,” according to the Thomas More Society.
Mr. Houck did what any good dad would do. He defended his son. First, he repeatedly asked the pro-abortion activist to stop the abuse. Only after the pro-abortion activist ignored Mr. Houck’s calls to back off did the father shove the activist away from his son’s face. The pro-abortionist clearly instigated the altercation and refused to stop harassing Mr. Houck’s 12-year-old boy despite being repeatedly asked to do so.
The Biden Department of Justice never should have brought a federal case against Mr. Houck in the first place. Mr. Houck did not shove the pro-abortion activist away from his son for the purpose of interfering with the activist’s provision of reproductive health services. Mr. Houck’s shove occurred solely in defense of his son after his attempts to de-escalate the tense situation failed to stop the pro-abortionist’s harassment.
The Biden Department of Justice ignored a highly relevant 2019 decision by a federal district court in Pennsylvania that limited the scope of a legally defensible charge of a FACE Act violation. Federal District Court Judge Chad F. Kenney ruled that a peaceful pro-life advocate had a First Amendment right to provide witness and sidewalk counseling outside an abortion facility.
Judge Kenney also played down the significance, for FACE Act purposes, of the alleged use of force that arose out of “a mutual argument” regarding how the defendant was exercising what he believed to be his constitutional rights. The opinion stated that “the Court does not find that Plaintiff has shown a reasonable probability of eventual success in proving that Defendant Sulpizio violated FACE by using force to intentionally injure or intimidate or attempt to injure or intimidate a person because that person is providing reproductive health services.”
The same finding should apply to Mr. Houck. He did not shove the pro-abortion activist because the activist was providing reproductive health services. Mr. Houck acted solely in defense of his son who was being harassed by the pro-abortionist.
Moreover, the pro-abortion activist’s attempt to have Mr. Houck charged at the state level with assault and battery because Mr. Houck shoved the pro-abortionist away from his son went nowhere. The authorities did not press charges. When the pro-abortionist tried to bring the charges himself, his case was thrown out of court.
In short, the Biden Department of Justice ignored both the law and the facts in Mr. Houck’s case and ran roughshod over his civil liberties. The only reason for the FBI to haul Mr. Houck away at gunpoint in a dawn raid at his home was to send an intimidating message to other peaceful pro-life protesters to remain silent or else.
The Biden administration’s egregious abuse of power against Mr. Houck is not simply a one-off case. On October 5th, armed FBI agents arrested Paul Vaughn, President of Tennessee Personhood, at his home. The Thomas More Society is defending Mr. Vaughn against spurious charges of “conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act.” The charges are focused on an alleged blockade at an abortion clinic’s entry doors, including allegedly preventing a patient and an employee from entering.
According to the Thomas More Society, Mr. Vaughn was recording a protest by pro-life advocates “sitting in a hallway outside of the abortion clinic singing Christian hymns, reading scripture, and praying.” Mr. Vaughn was also “serving as a liaison between life advocates and the police to ensure the safety of all involved. No one was hurt, and no property was damaged during the pro-life witness.”
Even if there were acts of civil disobedience at the protest, since when does engaging peacefully in such acts, much less simply recording them, justify the punishment that is possible under the FACE Act – 11 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000?
The Biden administration is weaponizing the FBI to go after the administration’s opponents, including peaceful pro-life protesters. The Biden Department of Justice does not even make a pretense of applying the law in an even-handed fashion. We have yet to see them display a mere fraction of the zeal that it has shown in persecuting pro-life advocates when it comes to pursuing the pro-abortion militants who have firebombed and vandalized pro-life pregnancy resource centers.
Spurwing Plover says
Hitler did this with the Jews then came the Concentration Camps and the rest is history
Tom Morrow says
I lay the blame on Reich Minister Heinrich Himmler Garland and his Democratic [fascist] Party Schutzstaffel in the DoJ.
This administration needs to be treated like Mussolini and the Nazis were treated at the end of WW2.
Mo de Profit says
“that should shock the conscience of every freedom-loving American.”
Not only Americans, the whole of the western world.
Question, how many cowardly FBI raids like this happened under Trump?
Stephen Triesch says
Dubious raids and shows of force (e.g., the arrest of Roger Stone) also happened under Trump because the Deep State operated independently of his authority. They have become a law unto themselves. Even now, they are trying to influence the election by fomenting fears of Republican-inspired extremism.
John Major says
Similar things DID happen under President Trump. Unfortunately, President Trump was the target. That’s what the Mueller investigation, and then the raid on Mar-A-Lago, was about.
Walter Sieruk says
On the lighter side , about that lying old Joe Biden there is a country song and some of lyrics to it are the following.
“Let’s God Brandon, let’s go , yes I’m talking about you sleepy Joe . You’re Marxist and you’re WOKE , you’re a dirt bag and a joke, let’s go Brandon let’s go.”
The FBI has become a fascist institution, and Democrats since Obama seek totalitarian control over subjects
Spurwing Plover says
What dose that rag Time Magazine think of their Person of the Year now?
Horrible attack on peaceful Conservatives. Though I don’t agree with their stance on abortion, they are logical in their opposition.
Virtually all anti-abortion people do it because they are Christians. For them it is killing a human who is in the Image of God.
1. Though they are pro-family NEVER has any Conservative intellectual denounced the UNJUST DIVORCE laws: alimony, giving half of your money to the ex-wife, etc.
2. In some states even if a DNA TEST proves the children are NOT the husband’s,he still has to pay child support until they are 18 years old. Today,we know that in the West,
33% of children whose parents married are NOT the children of the official father,the husband. She committed adultery.
3. We know because tens of thousands every year take a DNA ancestry test,to find out where their ancestors came from. 33% discover their father is NOT their BIOLOGICAL father.
Only like 25% marry,the average age of marriage is 33 and ,among those 18-50 who are married,
70% divorce. And the AVERAGE marriage of those 18-50 lasts 3 to 4 YEARS.
4. So MILLIONS of men in the US have been crushed financially due to the divorce laws,and Conservative leaders never try to change those laws.
Stephen Triesch says
In the wake of approximately 150 attacks by pro-abortion zealots on pro-life clinics, Catholic churches, and Republican offices, the FBI’s response is to send SWAT teams to raid the homes of people charged with praying outside an abortion clinic and shoving a pro-abortion heckler who was shouting abuse at a boy. Both cases were almost a year old, and one had already been thrown out of the local court.
Meanwhile, to my knowledge, no one has yet been arrested in the attacks against pro-life facilities and Catholic churches. The FBI, like the Biden administration in general, is showing its utter contempt for the rule of the law and the equal protection of the laws.
Stephen Triesch says
There is No reasonable justification for the show of force displayed against Houck and his family. It was an act of bullying, verging on terrorism.
I’m wondering who paid for the legal representation of the child harassing abortion activist in his failed civil suit? Any newby lawyer would have known the suit was almost certain to go nowhere. It’s pretty obvious it was a nuisance suit to Houck to drain his bank account by forcing him to hire legal representation. Whoever signed off on the federal charges should be charged with malicious prosecution. And whoever signed off on that raid should be brought up on charges of fraudulent waste and abuse of government resources, at the least. Of course they won’t be, unless there’s a complete housecleaning at the DOJ
David Ray says
Chickenshit Nancy wants us all to weep & wail that a nudist activist attacked her husband (instead of arresting him for insider-trading.)
When Rand Paul was attacked by a leftist neighbor who, Nancy’s daughter jumped up & down and clapped her hands.
If one is unaware of other attacks on Rand & other Republicans, it’s simple . . . the courtier press doesn’t give a shit.
The press also is trying to sell Pelosi’s atracker as a conservative because of racist postings – which actually makes him a leftists.
In a world where Nancy shrugs her shoulders at Iranian women are being killed for not wearing a hijab, I could care less that her drunk-driving husband got a taste of karma.