Pro-life activist whose home was raided testifies before Congress

by Jacob Fuller
Pro-life activist arrested at Pennsylvania home during FBI raid

Vicky Arias, FISM News

Pro-life activist, Mark Houck, testified on Tuesday before a House Judiciary subcommittee in a hearing investigating whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) enforcement of the FACE Act is even-handed or biased toward conservative groups.

The FACE Act is a federal law enacted under President Clinton in 1994 that prohibits an individual or group from “intimidating” a person who is either trying to obtain or provide “reproductive health services,” or who is attempting to enter a house of worship to exercise their “First Amendment right of religious freedom.” The law also prohibits damaging reproductive health facilities and churches.

In response to an alleged FACE Act violation, FBI agents raided Houck’s home on Sept. 23, 2022 after a 2021 incident where Houck and his 12-year-old son were confronted by an abortion advocate, Bruce Love, near a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia.

“On Sept. 23rd, my home was raided by 10 unmarked and marked units, state troopers, [and] federal law enforcement personnel. I had five federal agents on my doorstep at 6:30 in the morning with long guns pointed at me and my seven children,” Houck testified.

According to Houck’s testimony, on the day in question, he and his son were 50 to 100 feet away from the clinic, praying and ministering to women exiting the clinic, when Love approached them and began to harass him and his son.

“Again, we [were] about 50 feet from the entrance to the building. [Love] stood right next to my 12-year-old boy, who was a little intimidated and scared by this. I asked him if he could please give him some space. He did not … [and] we just continued to pray,” Houck stated.

Houck proceeded to describe Love’s behavior.

Love “continued to talk to me and offer insults to me … and I didn’t listen to it. But then he started to … talk to my son,” Houck stated, explaining that Love began to “badger [his] son and … [tell his] son how evil his father is and how his father doesn’t want to help women.”

Houck testified that as Love continued to “badger” his son, he pushed Love, which resulted in Love falling to the ground. Houck admitted that he “became a dad on the street” who was protecting his son. However, the federal government didn’t see it that way.

Although local law enforcement declined to prosecute Houck, the Justice Department decided to indict him under the FACE Act. After enduring a four-and-a-half-month trial and facing an 11-year prison sentence, Houck was acquitted on all charges.

Houck testified that he believed the government was trying to embarrass him and make an example of him.

They were trying to “humiliate me, to scare my children, and to instill fear in pro-life America,” Houck said. “My children were downrange of many guns, and they screamed through the whole process. The committee should know that they were traumatized.”


Conservatives have accused the Justice Department of favoring liberal political agendas in its enforcement of the FACE Act.

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Johnson (R-La.) in October of 2022 sent a letter to Jacqueline Romero, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, detailing what they believe to be the uneven enforcement of the FACE Act.

The Act also protects “pro-life pregnancy counseling services and any other pregnancy support facility providing reproductive health care,” the letter states. “Since the leak of the Dobbs opinion, however, the Department has almost exclusively enforced the FACE Act to protect pro-abortion activists while failing to prosecute harassment and intimidation of pro-life supporters.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in March questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland on why the Justice Department seemingly fails to allocate the same amount of resources to pregnancy centers that have been attacked as it does to abortion clinics.

“Why do you send two dozen agents in body armor to arrest a sidewalk counselor who happens to be pro-life, but you don’t devote resources to prosecute people who are violently firebombing crisis pregnancy centers?” Cruz asked. “If you’re a violent criminal and you attack a crisis pregnancy center, that is not a priority in the Biden Department of Justice.”

During Tuesday’s committee hearing, Rep. Jordan asserted that “politics is driving the agenda in our federal agencies.”

Jordan cited the recent Durham report, which, according to CNN, “concluded that the FBI should never have launched a full investigation into connections between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.”

The Durham report states that “uncorroborated intelligence” was used in the Trump investigation and asserts that claims of election interference from Hillary Clinton’s campaign were handled in a different manner.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Jordan continued, stating that “politics is driving the agenda in far too many agencies in our government, and today, it’s not limited to presidential campaigns.”