On September 23, 2022, the Department of Justice filed an assault charge against Mark Houck, age 48, for hitting Bruce Love, a man helping women outside a reproductive healthcare facility. He was charged with two different offenses under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which forbids stopping, harming, or intimidating any provider of reproductive healthcare.
Houck was declared free on January 30 after a jury in Philadelphia ruled him not guilty of the accusations leveled against him. The prosecution was unable to get a guilty verdict even though the pro-life activist did not dispute pushing Love, a 72-year-old volunteer at the clinic.
“Justice has been served, but this brazen exercise in intimidation never should have happened. Mark Houck and his eight children never should have been forced to live through an FBI raid or see their father led away in handcuffs," – Rep. Chip Royhttps://t.co/nOqoYjzqXx— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) January 31, 2023
Houck’s supporters asserted he was the real victim at the time of his detention. They said that the DOJ was pursuing its goal of punishing Conservatives by pursuing the activist because of his opinions.
After the verdict, Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) expressed his opinion, saying that the jury had made the correct choice. In fact, he demanded that Congress completely rethink FACE and said that the accusations against Houck never should have been made in the first place.
Love explained that he was merely attempting to shield women who were exiting the clinic from the on-site activists. He stated that after the woman turned down Houck’s offer of pamphlets and the accused appeared to shove the older guy, Love became very agitated, and the subsequent confrontation resulted in Love being knocked to the ground.
According to the prosecution, the case wasn’t about contrasting opinions but rather about an aggressive individual using his strength to undermine someone else. Houck claimed he was just responding to remarks Love made about his present small child.
The DOJ’s intimidation methods against Houck’s client clearly failed in the end, according to Houck’s attorney, Peter Breen, who expressed satisfaction with the result.