A prominent pro-life activist, Mark Houck, is pursuing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice led by President Joe Biden after a controversial arrest.
Mark Houck and his wife are suing the Biden administration for what they claim was excessive use of force and a case of malicious prosecution stemming from an incident in 2021.
Houck, known for his dedication to the pro-life cause and his Catholic faith, is a father of seven children and heads a nonprofit organization. This group provides counseling to individuals on sidewalks outside abortion clinics in Philadelphia. In 2021, an incident occurred at a Planned Parenthood clinic where Houck was defending his then 12-year-old son from harassment by a pro-abortion activist.
The arrest of Houck was a dramatic event. Approximately 20 FBI agents, fully armed, showed up at his Pennsylvania home to arrest him, making this spectacle in front of his children.
Following the arrest, Houck faced charges under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. If convicted, he could have been looking at 11 years in prison and fines amounting to $350,000.
However, in January 2023, Houck was acquitted of the FACE Act charges related to the 2021 incident at the Planned Parenthood clinic.
The lawsuit filed by Houck and his wife against the Department of Justice alleges several grievances. These include malicious prosecution, retaliatory prosecution, false arrest, abuse of process, and assault.
In terms of compensation, Houck is seeking $1.1 million in damages from the DOJ. His wife, on the other hand, is asking for a significantly larger amount of $3.25 million.
The lawsuit further reveals the emotional toll this ordeal has taken on Houck's wife. According to the document, she has suffered emotional distress, multiple miscarriages, and infertility as a result of stress stemming from Houck's arrest.
According to the lawsuit, the manner of Houck's arrest was described as an 'unnecessary and unlawful show of force' and a violation of Houck's Fourth Amendment rights. The document also asserts that officers used 'excessive force' to arrest Houck on 'non-violent charges' and that he had not been a threat to law enforcement, did not own a firearm, and had even offered to surrender himself to authorities if indicted. The suit reads:
"Mrs. Houck has also shouldered the emotional distress of caring for her seven children and their individual needs as they each process their own trauma from these events. The children continually come to her crying and suffering from nightmares. The children slept in bed with her and her husband for the first month after the arrest, and they continue to ask to sleep in their parents’ bed."
The incident was captured on video, according to a post from a fundraising account at GiveSendGo. However, this did not deter the actions of Planned Parenthood and the Biden Administration. The Department of Justice, despite Houck being represented by an attorney and with no prior warning, dispatched a fully armed SWAT team to his home at dawn, causing distress among his young children.