PHILIDELPHIA, PA—On September 23, Mark Houck, 48, of Kintnersville, PA, was arrested and made his first appearance in court for an allegedly 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. He has since plead “not guilty.”
Houck is accused of having assaulted a 72-year-old man only identified as “B.L.” twice outside of a reproductive health center for being a volunteer escort at the clinic. The charges come from two separate incidents that occurred on October 13, 2021 at a Planned Parenthood on Locust Street in Philadelphia.
B.L. was escorting two patients outside of the facility when he was allegedly shoved to the ground by Houck. In the second incident, Houck verbally confronted B.L. and then shoved him again to the ground causing injury that required medical attention. There are reports that B.L. was verbally harassing Houck’s 12 year old son who was said to have been present.
The Philadelphia Police Department stated they arrived on the scene after the altercation was reported, but Houck was not arrested. At the time, the Philadelphia District Attorney refused to prosecute Houck. Months passed and in May 2022, Houck received a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice informing him that he was being investigated for violating the FACE Act.
If convicted, Houck faces a maximum possible sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000. He is being represented by John P. Williamson who is an attorney that is also the head of the Pro-Life Union of Delaware County.
“Assault is always a serious offense, and under the FACE Act, if the victim is targeted because of their association with a reproductive healthcare clinic, it is a federal crime,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Our Office and the Department of Justice are committed to prosecuting crimes which threaten the safety and rights of all individuals.”
On the night of his arrest, Houck was met with about 25 uniformed agents armed with weapons. His wife Ryan-Marie stated that the agents raided their home with their guns drawn. “It was devastating,” she told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “As you can imagine, it’s hard to even express the victimization and how traumatized we all are due to this unnecessary thing that happened to us.” She asserted that it is her husband that is being victimized.
Within hours of her husband’s arrest, she publicly disputed the charges filed against him giving interviews with conservative media sources like LifeSiteNews. According to LifeSiteNews, B.L.’s injuries were minor and only required a band aid.
Houck is a known pro-life activist, but it is currently unknown if he was involved in a demonstration on the day of the assault. He is also the co-founder and president for The King’s Men which is a Catholic Ministry aimed at helping young men of the Catholic faith.