Roughly 25-30 armed FBI agents with more than a dozen vehicles swarmed Catholic pro-life activist and author Mark Houck’s Pennsylvania home early Friday morning and arrested him in front of his children, according to Houck’s wife Ryan-Marie. In an interview with LifeSiteNews, she described a SWAT-style raid with agents aiming guns at the house and surrounding it before “they started pounding on the door and yelling for us to open it.”
When the father of seven answered the door, pleading with the agents to remember “my children are in the home,” Ryan-Marie said the G-men “just kept pounding and screaming.” Once Mark allowed them inside, “they had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house,” his wife recalled. Their children, she added, “were all at the top of the stairs which faces the front door … just screaming.”
As LifeSiteNews reported:
After asking them why they were at the house, the agents said they were there to arrest Mark. When Ryan-Marie asked for their warrant, ‘they said that they were going to take him whether they had a warrant or not.’
After Ryan-Marie protested, she said, the agents finally agreed to retrieve the warrant, then showed her one page “and said they were taking him to ‘the federal building in downtown Philadelphia.'” Mark asked her to get his rosaries and a sweatshirt, she added, “but when she returned, they already had loaded him into a vehicle.”
Pushing back on Ryan-Marie’s testimony, an FBI Philadelphia spokesman claimed, “No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved” but that the FBI “knocked” on the Houck’s door. The person also denied that there were 25-plus agents involved and that guns were pointed at Houck’s family, but admitted to agents having “guns out and at the ready” and to there being as many as 15-20 agents at the Houcks’ home.
If Houck is convicted, he could receive “a maximum possible sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000,” according to a Justice Department press release.
What was his crime?
The arrest warrant shows Houck accused of “attacking a patient escort” at a Planned Parenthood facility in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a federal law used to restrict the actions of pro-life protesters and counselors in front of abortion facilities. Mark, who also runs a men’s ministry devoted in part to rescuing men from pornography addictions, made a habit of driving two hours to Philadelphia every week to spend his Wednesdays speaking and counseling in front of the Planned Parenthood – Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center.
His wife recalled that on several occasions when Mark took their then-12-year-old son to sidewalk counsel with him, a “pro-abortion protester” would say “crude … inappropriate and disgusting things” to Mark’s son, including “you dad’s a f-g” and other vulgarities Ryan-Marie couldn’t bring herself to repeat. It went on “for weeks and weeks,” despite Mark repeatedly telling the man to stop harassing his son. “He kept doing it and kind of came into [the son’s] personal space,” Ryan-Marie explained, at which point “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back. He didn’t have any injuries or anything, but he tried to sue Mark.”
The case against Mark was thrown out of the district court in Philadelphia earlier this year, LifeSiteNews reported, but the FBI picked it up as the federal agency continues to wage war on the administration’s political opponents. Jacqueline C. Romero, the U.S. attorney whose signature is on Houck’s indictment, is a Biden appointee whom the DOJ bragged is “the first woman of color and the first person to identify as LGBTQIA+ to lead the Office,” as investigative journalist Julie Kelly pointed out on Twitter.
The indictment shows a grand jury decided to charge Mark with “verbally confronting [the pro-abortion man] and forcefully shov[ing him] to the ground in front of the [Planned Parenthood Center], causing injuries … that required medical attention.” Brian Middleton, a spokesman for the Houck family, says that “medical attention” was merely “a Band-Aid on his finger.” A release order reveals Mark was required to post $10,000 bond and is currently barred from returning to sidewalk counsel at the abortion center.
The FBI’s use of blatant intimidation and excessive force to target a pro-life leader comes after pro-abortion agitators spent months vandalizing and even firebombing dozens of pro-life pregnancy resource centers and churches across the country. It took a month and a half and a pressure campaign from concerned congressional leaders and senators to get the FBI to even say it was “investigating” these attacks, but we have yet to see any SWAT-style raids like what the Houcks endured levied at firebombers whose criminal behavior advanced the regime’s agenda.