Mark Houck, a Catholic pro-life speaker and author from Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, became the latest target in a string of Department of Justice-sponsored SWAT raids and arrests.
“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,” Pennsylvania pro-life activists Ashley Garecht and her husband said via Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, calling the action harassment driven by what they called “a corrupt and politicized justice system” under President Joe Biden.
About 25 to 30 FBI agents swarmed Houck’s rural property in Bucks County at around 7 a.m. on Sept. 23, pointing rifles at the parents in front of their horrified children, according to Houck’s wife Ryan-Marie. The 48-year-old was charged the same day with physically assaulting a patient escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia nearly a year ago.
If convicted of the offense, Houck faces up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000, according to the Justice Department.
The Garechts had gathered more than $137,000 via their crowdfunding page for the family as of Sunday, far beyond an initial $30,000 goal. Funds raised through the campaign will go to help the family with any necessary expenses, according to the site.
“We will not back down, we will not stop fighting to protect the lives of Pennsylvania’s unborn children,” said the Garechts.
The couple’s two teenage daughters were once harassed in 2019 by then-state Democrat Rep. Brian Sims for several minutes while praying outside a Planned Parenthood.
Houck, who is a co-founder and president of The King’s Men, a nonprofit group that promotes healing for victims of pornography addiction, also regularly provides sidewalk counseling and prays the rosary outside abortion clinics in Philadelphia.
The allegation stemmed from Houck’s attempt last year to protect his 12-year-old son from a pro-abortion activist outside an abortion clinic in downtown Philadelphia. The father shoved the man to the ground after the latter kept hurling “crude … inappropriate and disgusting” comments at the Houcks and entered the son’s “personal space,” Ryan-Marie told LifeSite News.
“Last year, Mark and his son were praying in front of the PP at 12th and Locust. 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,” the Garechts said. “It’s all on video.”
Despite the federal indictment indicating the man was injured and needed medical attention, Houck’s family spokesman Brian Middleton told Catholic News Agency that the injury was minor requiring only “a Band-Aid on his finger.”
In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said that Houck is in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, after having “twice assaulted a man because he was a volunteer reproductive health care clinic escort” in the same incident.
The department did not immediately return a request for comment.