An Upper Bucks County anti-abortion activist is on trial on federal charges for allegedly twice assaulting and injuring an elderly male volunteer who was serving as a patient escort for a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia.
Mark Houck, 48, of Kintersville, was charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance Act, making it a federal crime to use violence with the intent to injure, intimidate or interfere with anyone providing reproductive health care.
Houck made his first appearance in the US Eastern District Court in Philadelphia on Friday. If convicted, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and up to $350,000 in fines.
On Saturday, Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, released a statement in support of Houck and the firing on the FBI and the president.
“The FBI’s continued arming and prosecution by Joe Biden’s DOJ against ordinary Americans is a disgrace,” Mastriano said in the statement.
This morning, a heavily armed SWAT team of dozens of FBI agents raided the home of Mark Houck of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and terrified children in a case long dismissed by the Philadelphia court. Mark and The Seven Children of Ryan-Marie Houck were traumatized and in tears as they saw their parents held at gunpoint and their father taken away in handcuffs.”
Houck’s charges stem from two incidents that took place on Oct. 13, 2021 at the Planned Parenthood Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center on Locust Street, where he allegedly assaulted a 72-year-old volunteer escort, identified in documents with the initials BL.
In the first incident, BL was trying to escort two patients leaving the clinic when Houck pushed him to the ground, according to federal prosecutors. In the second incident, Houck verbally confronted BL and again pushed him to the ground in front of the Planned Parenthood center, causing injuries that required medical attention.
“Hardness is always a serious crime, and under the FACE Act it is a federal offense if the victim is targeted because of their association with a reproductive health care clinic,” US attorney Jacqueline Romero said in a statement.
Online sources list Houck as the founder of a Catholic men’s organization called “The King’s Men”. He has been protesting outside the Blackwell clinic for 20 years, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this year.
“Citizens in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania join me to express our outrage at this early morning attack on a young family,” Mastriano said. “This display of power by the Biden regime against ordinary Americans is an abuse of power that goes against the fundamental principles on which our country is founded.
“As governor, I will not allow the police state of Joe Biden to enforce his prosecution of his political enemies on Pennsylvania sacred ground. Not on my watch.”
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This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Upper Bucks anti-abortion protester accused of pushing clinic escort