WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta delivered remarks recently that conservatives are taking as an admission that the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) has been intentionally targeting pro-lifers instead of impartially upholding the law with respect for all Americans’ constitutional rights.
Speaking in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Gupta listed among new and “insidious” challenges to “civil and constitutional rights” the U.S. Supreme Court’s June overturn of Roe v. Wade which restored the elected branches of government’s ability to decide abortion laws.
“Earlier this year, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to women throughout the country, taking away the constitutional right to abortion and increasing the urgency of our work, including enforcement of the [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances] Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services,” she said.
UPDATE (01/30/23): Mark Houck has been AQUITTED on both charges!
Thanks be to God LifeSiteNews can report that Mark Houck has been found "Not Guilty" on all counts today.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania spokeswoman and Houck family friend Ashley Garecht said “We rejoice and celebrate that Mark Houck has been found not guilty on all counts.”
“This case was always about a father’s right to protect his son, and never had anything to do with the FACE act,” she said. “We are grateful to the judge for his integrity, and to the jurors for their thoughtful deliberations. We are grateful to Mark’s attorneys who labored so diligently in his defense. And we are grateful for all of those who surrounded and supported Mark and his family in prayer through this challenging ordeal.”
“Most of all we praise and thank God for his protection and provision,” Garecht added. “To Him be all the glory.”
The Thomas More Society is set to hold a press conference today on the 6th street side of the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia.
Monday’s verdict came after a tense weekend wait following a deadlocked jury on Friday.
Several hours into Monday’s deliberations after the jury reconvened, an alternate was chosen to replace one of the jurors. Just before 3:00 p.m. EST, the jury delivered its verdict, acquitting Houck on both charges.
Mark Houck, a pro-life Catholic father of 7, became the latest victim of an FBI raid and arrest on the morning of Friday September 23 — for supposed “FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act” violations — at his rural home as his children looked on “screaming.”
The arrest and raid stems from an altercation with a Planned Parenthood worker.
According to Mark’s wife Ryan-Marie, a “pro-abortion protester” would verbally harrass Mark's 12-year old son — hurling vulgar and derogatory statements.
When the protestor encroached in the boy's space, Mark defended his son. At that point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back,” Ryan-Marie recounts.
The protestor was not injured, but he tried to sue Mark Houck for the assault but his case was thrown out of court in the early summer.
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE LEFT TO HARRASS PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES THIS WAY!
It's vital to stand in solidarity with a pro-family and pro-life man being unjustly persecuted - please SIGN & SHARE our message of support now.
In case you hadn't caught on already, the satanic Biden administration is waging war on Christians. https://t.co/E6ChpZVDYW— Michael (X) Knowles ✊ (@michaeljknowles) September 24, 2022
The description of this arrest sounds like it took place in a totalitarian state. A tragic unraveling of Justice in America. https://t.co/e3vEID7E39— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 25, 2022
If convicted, 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.
Additional conservative pro-life leaders have weighed in — this is why we need your support ASAP.
“Just in the last few days we’ve seen some pretty glaring examples of what appear to be instances of DOJ [Department of Justice] overreach. You’ve got a Catholic father of seven who formed a group designed to encourage young men to be faithful to their commitments, arrested in front of his seven children just recently. You’ve got all these instances of overreach. It’s deeply concerning to us all. These are all things we’re gonna be looking into.” — US Senator Mike Lee
Tell the Houck family that you stand by them!
SIGN: We stand with pro-life Catholic dad of 7 raided by Biden’s FBI
Please share this petition widely. Let's stand in solidarity with Mark Houck and his family.
“DOJ Official Admits Targeting Pro-Lifers Is Response to Overturn of Roe,” summarized Mary Margaret Olohan for The Daily Signal, which reached out to but did not receive replies from Gupta or DOJ.
In June, Gupta announced a DOJ “reproductive rights task force” specifically dedicated to monitoring states’ abortion restrictions to prevent “overreach” and considering legal challenges against them, ostensibly in the name of “protecting access to reproductive services.”
The FACE Act also protects access to churches and crisis pregnancy centers, yet in October the Biden administration would not confirm whether it has made arrests in any of the more-than 150 attacks on both by pro-abortion activists since Dobbs. The administration claimed to be taking such attacks seriously, but victims say the FBI has not reached out to them according to Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance.
By contrast, the FBI and DOJ have taken a much more visible and aggressive posture in discussing, investigating, and prosecuting both real and alleged violence associated with pro-lifers and other conservative views, such as the case of pro-life activist Mark Houck, whom in September the federal government arrested in a home raid over a year-old altercation with an unruly pro-abortion activist that had long since been adjudicated by local authorities.
The use of federal law enforcement to retaliate against political opponents has been one of the most alarming facets of President Joe Biden’s tenure.
Since January 2021, the administration has aggressively pursued individuals alleged to have participated in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol protesting the certification of Biden’s electoral victory over predecessor Donald Trump. In September, an FBI whistleblower, Special Agent Steve Friend, was suspended for protesting the excessive treatment of January 6 suspects accused only of nonviolent misdemeanors, as well as the bureau’s alleged manipulation of information to give the public an inflated perception of the “threat.”
Last year, Attorney General Merrick Garland and the DOJ alleged a spike in threats to educators driven by opposition to the use of controversial instructional materials based on the far-left “critical race theory” doctrine, which was used to stigmatize parents protesting objectionable materials more generally as potential terrorists.
“The left is out for blood, and Biden’s base is demanding prosecutions and the DOJ is providing them” with “law enforcement run amok,” Roger Severino, the former director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Trump, commented earlier this year. “The FACE Act had always been enforced very rarely, because the pro-life movement is a movement of peace. All of a sudden, they are inventing cases and doing sham prosecutions in an election year for purely political purposes to go after their political enemies.”