A jury has found Mark Houck not guilty of federal charges brought against him by President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice.
The DOJ had charged Houck with two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act when, outside a Pennsylvania abortion clinic, Houck allegedly pushed a pro-abortion activist who was allegedly antagonizing his son.
A jury acquitted Houck of both DOJ charges on Monday.
“We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, said in a statement Monday. “Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them.”
“We took on Goliath – the full might of the United States government – and won,” Breen added. “The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”
Breen previously told The Daily Signal that the Justice Department sent “20-plus heavily armed federal agents with shields and long guns” to arrest Houck in late September as his children watched “to intimidate pro-life people and people of faith.”
Houck pled not guilty to the federal charges. His legal team argued that the Justice Department was violating the Constitution by engaging in “viewpoint discrimination” and “selective prosecution” against Houck, violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment’s protection for the free exercise of religion.
“The Biden administration has filed two brazenly defective and discriminatory charges against Mark Houck under the FACE Act, and both should be dismissed,” Breen said in a statement earlier this month. “Both counts allege that Mark Houck interfered with a so-called volunteer abortion patient escort, when in reality, Houck had a one-off altercation with a man who harassed Houck’s minor son, approximately 100 feet from the abortion business and across the street.”
“This case is being brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans,” Breen aded. “Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court.”
His arrest had sparked a national outcry against the Justice Department as conservatives point to the discrepancies between the DOJ’s targeting of pro-lifers and its apparent unwillingness to pursue charges in the vast number of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches since the leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion indicating that Roe v. Wade would soon be overturned (the DOJ finally charged two radical activists with attacking pro-life Florida clinics last week).
“This is a huge victory for freedom of speech for all Americans and a complete embarrassment for the FBI and DOJ as they target peaceful 40 Days for Life volunteers,” said 40 Days for Life CEO Shawn Carney. “For nearly 20 years, 40 Days for Life has had a track record of peaceful assembly and working well with local, state, and federal law enforcement.”
“We had no issue under Bush, Obama, Trump, or even the first two years of Biden’s DOJ,” he added. “The Biden DOJ and FBI are taking their anger over the Supreme Court overturning Roe out on us. I hope after this victory they leave us alone… and focus on dangerous criminals in our country, not pro-life volunteers with a peaceful track record.”
Reporting from The Daily Signal.