Catholic Pro-Life Father Acquitted on Assault Charges
The Catholic pro-life father who was facing 11 years in prison for allegedly violating a federal law that prohibited people from blocking people from entering an abortion clinic was acquitted on Monday.
Mark Houck leads a nonprofit group that counsels women outside of abortion clinics in Philadelphia. He was offering sidewalk counseling when he assaulted an abortion escort twice, according to the Department of Justice.
U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero said in a DOJ press release, “Assault is always a serious offense, and under the [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances] FACE Act, if the victim is targeted because of their association with a reproductive healthcare clinic, it is a federal crime.”
She went on to say that their office and the DOJ are committed to prosecuting crimes that threaten the safety and rights of people.
But Houck and his attorneys at the Thomas More Society argued that this was a political prosecution that was intended to send a message to all of pro-life America.
Peter Breen, the vice president of the Thomas More Society, 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.’”
He said that the DOJ wanted to intimidate good people like Mark and force them to stop praying and counseling individuals at abortion clinics.
Breen also shared that 20 FBI agents raided Houck’s home and treated him like a “drug lord or mafia boss.”
The jury deadlocked on Friday after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations and they told the judge they didn’t think they could come to a conclusion given more time. The judge sent the jury home but instructed them to return Monday morning and continue deliberations
On Monday, the jury acquitted Houck.