The family of a pro-life author and activist has received an outpouring of grassroots support after the man’s home was raided suddenly and violently last week by the FBI. A crowdfunding campaign had raised more than $278,000 as of Tuesday evening.
The Daily Wire reports that Mark Houck, the leader of a pro-life nonprofit group that provides sidewalk counseling for patients outside of abortion clinics in the Philadelphia area, was arrested Friday by a team of 30 armed FBI agents. The agents pointed their weapons at Houck and his wife, Ryan-Marie, while the couple’s seven children reportedly watched and screamed in terror.
The Justice Department last week announced Houck would be charged under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to “injure, intimidate, and interfere” with someone who is providing “reproductive health care.” Government prosecutors allege Houck assaulted a 72-year-old clinic “escort” identified only as “B.L” A single charge carries a sentence of 11 years in prison and a fine of $350,000.
Houck on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to two counts in a federal court in Philadelphia.
According to Houck’s own account of the incident, B.L. followed Houck and his 12-year-old son and repeatedly shouted vulgarities and slurs at them. When the man got into his son’s personal space, Houck shoved him away. Although the assailant tried to sue Houck in a Philadelphia civil court, the case was ultimately dismissed last year for lack of evidence.
Following widespread outrage over the violence displayed against Houck, as well as the apparent political motivations for reviving a previously dismissed case, pro-life activists Joe and Ashley Garecht set up the GiveSendGo fundraiser for Houck’s family.
“Last year, Mark and his son were praying in front of the [Planned Parenthood] at 12th and Locust,” the Garechts explained in a post on the fundraiser’s page. “When one of the escorts began harassing Mark’s son, they walked down the street away from the entrance to the building. The escort followed them, and when he continued yelling at Mark’s son, Mark pushed him away.”
“It’s all on video,” the post continues. “But that hasn’t stopped Planned Parenthood and the Biden Administration. With no prior warning, and in spite of the fact that Mark is represented by an attorney, Biden’s Justice Department sent a fully armed SWAT team into a home full of young children at daybreak to arrest a father for protecting his son.”
The fundraiser’s original goal was to raise $225,000 for Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie. The new goal is $300,000.
The overt use of armed federal agents to arrest members of the political opposition has become a staple of the Biden Administration, with FBI agents and other federal authorities repeatedly targeting top allies and supporters of President Donald Trump, including former Trump Administration advisor Peter Navarro and outspoken Trump supporter Mike Lindell. Most infamously, the FBI raided President Trump’s private residence at Mar-a-Lago in August, drawing widespread condemnation domestically and internationally.