Acquitted pro-life activist Mark Houck announces run for Congress

Mark Houck Mark Houck talks to reporters outside the U.S. District courthouse in Philadelphia with his lawyers, Peter Breen (left), Brian McMonagle (right), and Andrew Bath (background) following his acquittal on two charges of violating the FACE Act, Jan. 30, 2023. | Joe Bukuras/CNA

Mark Houck, the Pennsylvania pro-life activist and father of seven who was found not guilty in federal court in January for assaulting an abortion clinic escort, announced on Wednesday that he is running for Congress.

Speaking to CNA Friday, Houck said that his arrest and trial played a part in his decision to run for office.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to be attacked by the federal government. I know firsthand how the enemy of the state can be created by virtue of your faith. And I want to protect the 1st District of Pennsylvania and all families in the 1st District from that ever happening to them,” Houck said.

Houck was referring to his prosecution by the federal government on charges that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) when, during his work as a sidewalk counselor outside an abortion clinic, he was involved in an altercation with one of the clinic’s escorts.

In the early hours of Sept. 23, 2022, authorities arrived outside the Houck family’s home in Kintnersville in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

On the day of Houck’s arrest, his wife, Ryan-Marie Houck, told CNA that an FBI SWAT team made up of 25 agents and 15 vehicles showed up outside the family’s home “pounding” on the door.

Facing 11 years in prison, Houck was acquitted by a jury after only an hour of deliberation. 

Protecting the people of Pennsylvania’s 1st District from what the federal government subjected him to is “the fundamental reason” Houck decided to run.

If elected, Houck expressed his desire to serve on the newly formed Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, chaired by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, which investigates “violations of the civil liberties of citizens of the United States.”

“I’d like to get on that committee, and I’d like to be the face that the Democratic Party cannot ignore and the story that cannot be ignored,” Houck said. “My presence in D.C. will maintain that story, and they can’t run from it.”

Houck referred to his campaign’s platform, “Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom,” and told CNA that as a congressman he would opposed funding of abortion, defend the right to life, improve infrastructure in the district, support seniors and veterans, and limit illegal immigration on the southern border, which he said is a cause of drugs flowing into the country.

On his website, Houck said that he will support legislation that “strengthens the human family” and protect the constitutional rights of Americans.

Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Bucks County and Montgomery County in the southeastern part of the state, is currently represented by Republican Brian Fitzpatrick.

CNA reached out to Fitzpatrick’s office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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