Pro-Life Activist Mark Houck and Family File Lawsuit Against DOJ
Mark Houck, a pro-life activist, and his wife, Ryan-Marie Houck, have filed a lawsuit against the federal Department of Justice (DOJ). They accuse the DOJ of conducting a "faulty" investigation that led to an overly aggressive arrest and a "malicious and retaliatory prosecution" that has significantly affected their family. Mark Houck, a Catholic father of seven, was arrested and charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Abortion Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act by President Joe Biden's administration. However, a jury found him not guilty of the federal charges in January. He announced in August that he is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District.
Origins of the Charges
The charges under the DOJ's FACE Act originated from a 2021 incident outside a Philadelphia-based Planned Parenthood clinic. Mark Houck had pushed an abortion clinic volunteer who was repeatedly harassing his son, Mark Jr. Local authorities initially dismissed the matter. However, the Biden DOJ revived it in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Mark and Ryan-Marie believe they were targeted by the Biden DOJ to intimidate and silence them due to their pro-life work, which includes praying outside abortion clinics for the women going inside to abort their unborn babies.
Response from Pro-Life Community
Shawn Carney, president of the pro-life organization 40 Days for Life, which is representing Houck, stated, "This lawsuit will send a strong message to the DOJ that the United States of America does not belong to Merrick Garland or the FBI; it belongs to all Americans, despite our many disagreements on different issues." He added that Mark and his wife have valid and critical claims against the government that raided their house and pointed guns at them and their screaming children.
Details of the Lawsuit
The Houcks filed their lawsuits against the DOJ on Monday, but did not formally announce the news until Wednesday morning. Their complaints detail the trauma that the entire family suffered when they discovered armed FBI agents banging on their door early in the morning on September 23, 2022. Mark Houck's suit describes this arrest as an "unnecessary and unlawful show of force," accusing the agents of intentionally seeking to assault him and deprive him of his Fourth Amendment rights.
Impact on the Family
Ryan-Marie Houck's complaint describes how profoundly her husband's arrest has impacted their children. She details the immense emotional trauma and physical manifestations of stress that her children have experienced while her husband was away during his imprisonment and prosecution. Most tragically, the complaint states that Ryan-Marie and Mark have lost three babies through miscarriages due to the stress of the FBI's conduct and resulting prosecution. Ryan-Marie is seeking $3.25 million in damages for herself and for her children, while Mark seeks $1.1 million for malicious prosecution, retaliatory prosecution, false arrest, abuse of process, and assault.
Impact on the Children
The complaint describes the emotional and physical toll the events have taken on each of the Houck children. They have all suffered from severe anxiety, sleep deprivation, and nightmares. The children are easily triggered whenever the situation is brought up or unannounced guests arrive at the property, and Ryan-Marie spends a significant amount of time counseling and comforting them.
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A Hot Take on the Houck Family Lawsuit: Implications for New Businesses
The lawsuit filed by pro-life activist Mark Houck and his wife, Ryan-Marie, against the Department of Justice (DOJ) presents a significant case study for new businesses. The alleged excessive force used during Houck's arrest and the subsequent impact on his family raise pertinent questions about the role of government, freedom of speech, and the potential repercussions for businesses that align themselves with controversial causes.
Freedom of Speech and Business
The Houck's case highlights the importance of freedom of speech, a principle that is foundational to both personal liberties and business operations. New businesses, particularly those involved in contentious issues, must be aware of the potential for government intervention and the consequences it may bring.
Aligning with Controversial Causes
Businesses that choose to align themselves with controversial causes, such as the pro-life movement, may face backlash or legal challenges. The Houck's case serves as a stark reminder of the potential risks involved. New businesses must carefully consider their stance on such issues, balancing their personal beliefs with potential legal and reputational implications.
In conclusion, the Houck's lawsuit against the DOJ offers a cautionary tale for new businesses. It underscores the importance of understanding the potential consequences of aligning with controversial causes and the need to uphold the principle of freedom of speech.