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Professional-Life Activist Mark Houck Discovered Not Responsible of Violating FACE Act

Professional-life activist and Catholic father of seven Mark Houck was discovered not responsible on Monday on federal assault prices introduced by President Joe Biden’s Division of Justice (DOJ), Catholic Information Company reported.

The DOJ determined to press prices towards Houck, 48, who pushed a Deliberate Parenthood escort twice on October 13, 2021 — despite the fact that native authorities declined to press prices. Houck stated he pushed the escort, 73-year-old Bruce Love, as a result of he was verbally harassing his 12-year-old son as he was sidewalk counseling exterior the abortion clinic. 

The DOJ despatched a group of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) brokers to his house of September 23, 2022, allegedly arresting him at gunpoint in entrance of his spouse and kids. The DOJ accused Houck of violating the Freedom of Entry to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), a 1993 legislation created to prosecute crimes at pro-life being pregnant facilities that has “been used nearly solely towards pro-life activists,” CNA’s Joe Bukuras detailed.  The FACE Act outlaws “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct supposed to injure, intimidate, or intervene with the precise to hunt, get hold of, or present reproductive well being companies.”

Houck was charged with two counts of violating the FACE Act and confronted 11 years in federal jail if he had been discovered responsible. Based on Bukuras, supporters of Houck “cried and hugged each other” after the decision was learn within the U.S. District Court docket in Philadelphia.

“U.S. District Decide Gerald Pappert himself raised the likelihood that the case ought to by no means have been dropped at trial, asking the prosecution Thursday whether or not the federal FACE Act didn’t ‘appear to be stretched a bit of skinny right here,’” the report continues. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland listens listens as President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 13, 2022, during an event to highlight state and local leaders who are investing American Rescue Plan funding. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Legal professional Common Merrick Garland listens as President Joe Biden speaks within the Rose Backyard of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Might 13, 2022. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

Houck was sidewalk counseling exterior the clinic on the time of the incident in connection along with his work for The King’s Males, a bunch devoted to serving to males turn into higher husbands, fathers, and leaders. The three-day trial revolved round if Houck pushed Love as a result of Love was offering reproductive well being companies, which might be in violation of the FACE Act. Love denied verbally frightening Houck, the report states.

Jury deliberations started on Friday however had been “deadlocked” by the night. The jury resumed deliberations on Monday, and an alternate juror subsequently took the place of one of many unique jurors by 1:30 p.m. The jury then discovered Houck not responsible on each counts.

Houck’s arrest notably got here after the DOJ established a “Reproductive Rights Job Power” to “defend entry to reproductive well being care” in anticipation for the tip of Roe v. Wade. In 2022, the DOJ went after 26 pro-life people in 2022 with alleged violations of the FACE Act, despite the fact that FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted in November 2022 that roughly 70 p.c of abortion-related threats of violence in the US because the Dobbs resolution have been towards pro-life teams. Out of greater than 100 assaults of church buildings and pro-life being pregnant useful resource facilities, the DOJ lastly indicted two pro-abortion activists out of Florida accused of vandalism and FACE Act violations final week.

Peter Breen, Thomas Extra Society Government Vice President and Head of Litigation celebrated the victory and condemned the Biden administration’s “intimidation towards pro-life individuals.”

“We’re, after all, thrilled with the result. Mark and his household at the moment are freed from the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath — the complete may of the US authorities — and received,” Breen stated. “The jury noticed by and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This can be a win for Mark and all the pro-life motion. The Biden Division of Justice’s intimidation towards pro-life individuals and other people of religion has been put as an alternative.”

40 Days for Life’s Common Counsel Matt Britton stated the case is “not only a win for the pro-life motion and Mark, however totally free speech and each single American.” 

“The federal authorities trumped up prices months after an area case had been dismissed. If the feds had prevailed, each argument in entrance of each abortion facility, regardless of the topic, might end in federal prices,” Britton stated. “The feds tried to make a degree that they’d not tolerate pro-life speech and tried to make Mark an instance that they’d cost and intimidate pro-lifers, all whereas claiming that they symbolize democracy and free speech. However not right now. The system labored, and justice prevailed.” 

The case is The United States of America v. Houck, No. 2:22-cv-323 within the United State District Court docket Japanese District of Pennsylvania. 

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