GOP Lawmakers Tear Into DOJ Over Arrest of Pro-Life Father

Republican lawmakers attacked the Department of Justice Monday for the sudden and reportedly dramatic arrest of an anti-life father.

Members of the GOP reacted to reports that the FBI sent a “25-30 person swat team with guns drawn to target Mark Houck, a pro-life father of 7, for allegedly shoving a guy in front of an abortion clinic (while he maintains he was defending his 12-year-old son),” as Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy described it to The Daily Signal.

“This appears to be nothing less than a brazen continuation of the abuse of power by federal authorities against average American citizens that must stop,” Roy told The Daily Signal on Monday.

“We owe the American people Congressional hearings to provide public and transparent accountability for any and all wrongdoing,” he continued. “Even further, the FBI needs a complete and total overhaul to return primary law enforcement power to the states and to get the Bureau out of the business of politics once and for all.”

Huock’s wife told Life Site News that 25-30 FBI agents entered their home around 7 a.m. on Friday morning. 

“The kids were all just screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic,” Ryan-Marie Houck shared with the pro-life outlet, adding that her husband pleaded with the agents to be calm and not scare his children. The agents were holding “big, huge rifles,” she said, “pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house.”

 “Our staircase is open, so [the kids] were all at the top of the stairs which faces the front door, and I was on the stairs as well, coming down,” she said.

In a Monday afternoon letter, Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain why “Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists – complete with SWAT-style tactics — while letting actual terrorist acts go unpunished.”

Hawley noted that authorities obtained a warrant under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act to arrest Houck for “allegedly committing a single count of simple assault by pushing a man near an abortion clinic.” The FACE Act forbids preventing or obstructing anyone from going into an abortion clinic to provide or obtain an abortion.

“Houck contends that he only did so to defend his child against the man, and local authorities have already dismissed a separate criminal complaint against Houck for the same conduct,” Hawley continued. “Not only did your office turn a local dispute into a national case, but the FBI reportedly executed the search warrant in as extreme a manner as one can imagine.”

The senator also pointed out that Garland’s office has “so far turned a blind eye to the epidemic of violence across the country by pro-abortion extremists against pregnancy resource centers, houses of worship, and pro-life Americans — violent acts that are prohibited by the very same law under which you are charging Mark Houck.”

Since the May leakage of a draft opinion that indicated Roe v. Wade would soon fall, pro-life crisis pregnancy centers have been under attack from a variety of people. According to a Catholic Vote trackerAt least 72 crisis pregnancy centers are available at least 80 Catholic ChurchesSince the leak, they have been vandalized or attacked.

It doesn’t appear that anyone is being prosecuted by the Justice Department for these crimes under FACE Act. This Act also includes safeguards for houses and churches. The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal on this point or others related to Houck’s arrest.

FBI Philadelphia has contested the claim that a SWAT team went to Houck’s home for the arrest, with an unnamed spokesperson telling Fox News, “There are inaccurate claims being made regarding the arrest of Mark Houck. No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved.”

FBI Philadelphia and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have not responded to requests for comment from The Daily Signal.

The FBI has not denied to The Daily Signal that 25-30 agents showed up early in the morning at the family’s home with weapons drawn, as described by the family.

Houck was taken into custody on Friday by the U.S. Eastern District Court, Pennsylvania. He was indicted for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which “makes it a federal crime to use force with the intent to injure, intimidate, and interfere with anyone because that person is a provider of reproductive health care,” the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a Friday press release.  

Houck was released later that day by authorities, but he is still in custody. faces felony charges. Houck could be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison and fines up to $350,000 if convicted.  

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