AQUITTED: Mark Houck, Father of 7, Who Protected His Son From Abusive Planned Parenthood Escort, Wins Case

By Nancy Flory Published on January 30, 2023

Mark Houck, pro-life dad of seven, was acquitted Monday in United States of America v. Mark Houck. 

Houck, Catholic Men’s Ministry leader and father of seven, was arrested in September for protecting his son from an abusive Planned Parenthood escort outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Pennsylvania a year prior. United States of America v. Mark Houck began last week with jury selection and oral arguments before United States District Judge Gerald J. Pappert. 

Houck, 49, was charged with violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), even though he was across the street at the time a Planned Parenthood escort verbally attacked Houck and his son. The escort then used vulgarity when harassing Houck’s son. 

Even Planned Parenthood disagreed with how the escort, Bruce Love, handled the situation. Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive VP and Head of Litigation, explained:

The fact that Planned Parenthood believes that Bruce Love violated its own clinic escort manual — it’s a big deal. So what that shows is that you’ve got somebody that didn’t just instigate an altercation with Mark and his son, he was actually violating the policies he’s supposed to be following on the sidewalk as he did it.

It’s also important to note that local police had immediately cleared Houck of any wrong-doing, and the Department of Justice only charged the pro-life leader with the rarely enforced ACT a year after the incident … and more crucially, only after Roe v. Wade was overturned. The DOJ’s response to the Dobbs decision was to launch a series of heavy-handed arrests of pro-life leaders under the cover of the FACE Act. Houck was just the first. 

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In a press release Monday, Breen said the Houcks and Thomas More Society were thrilled with the outcome. “Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath — the full might of the United States government — and won. The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”

After the verdict, Houck and others gathered outside the courthouse and thanked God for the victory. 


The post-verdict press conference was held January 30, 2023. Watch here: 


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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