Pro-life activist pleads not guilty to federal charges, lawyer blasts DOJ's 'political prosecution'

"If he was truly a danger to the community, they wouldn't have waited a year to prosecute."

Published: September 27, 2022 3:59pm

Updated: September 27, 2022 4:47pm

A Pennsylvania pro-life activist has pleaded not guilty to federal charges alleging he used force to interfere with a reproductive health care provider, after a state court previously threw out the case.

In October 2021, Mark Houck "forcefully shoved" Planned Parenthood volunteer Bruce Love, 72, the Department of Justice alleges, according to Fox News. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act bars the use of force to interfere with or coerce reproductive health providers. Houck on Tuesday pleaded not guilty on two counts.

Peter Breen, Houck's attorney, contends that an "extremely aggressive" Love was "harassing" Houck's son prior to the alleged incident, per the outlet. He further decried the DOJ's decision to wait a full year before pursuing federal charges against his client, calling the effort a "political prosecution."

"If he was truly a danger to the community, they wouldn't have waited a year to prosecute," Breen said, according to Fox. "Serious questions need to be asked of the attorney general. What was he thinking? Why did they do this obscene show of force against a peaceful pillar of the community?"

Breen's reference to an "obscene show of force" is apparently a nod to the FBI's arrest of Houck during which, his wife claims, nearly 30 agents arrived at the family's home and forcefully arrested him at gunpoint. The bureau, however, has hotly contested that account, insisting that the family and their attorney has inflated the number of agents present and significantly exaggerated their conduct.

"FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck's front door, identified themselves as FBI agents, and asked him to exit the residence," the bureau asserted, per Fox. "He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment."

The depiction of Houck's arrest and the categorization of his prosecution as "political" come amid a slew of whistleblower complaints against the DOJ and FBI alleging similar misconduct in other instances. Special Agent Stephen M. Friend, just one of a litany of whistleblowers, has alleged that the bureau violated the rights of Jan. 6 defendants during the investigative process, manipulated crime statistics, and misused SWAT teams to conduct misdemeanor arrests.

Whistleblower lawyers and lawmakers alike have expressed concerns that the DOJ is further working to silence whistleblowers and bury concerns of agency misconduct by suspending agents or blocking security clearances.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News