On Monday, a Philadelphia jury found pro-life activist Mark Houch not guilty of violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
According to Life News, Houck testified during the trial that on October 13, 2021, now-former Planned Parenthood Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center escort Bruce Love chased Houck 100 feet down the sidewalk and across the street to stop Houck from counseling two individuals who had left the planned Parenthood location. The two made contact, with Houck moving Love out of the way.
In a second incident the same day, Houck and his then-12-year-old son were standing by temselves 50 feet from the clinic entrance and were praying, when Love walked over and stood two feet away from the son and started saying "vile and nasty things."
Despite being told by Houck to stop harassing his son and go away, Love did not, which ended in Houck pushing Love away.
"I don’t know how anyone could hear what we’ve heard over the past few days and think that Mark deserves to be in prison. I don’t know how anyone could watch this grueling trial and think that Bruce Love was a helpless victim and Mark a violent monster. And I don’t know how anyone could hear the moving and courageous testimony of young Mark Jr. and come away with their hearts hardened against his father." Brian McMonagle told the jury. "This case is about a father’s love for his child."
"I truly believe that we’ve sent a message to Biden’s DOJ and the abortion industry that, despite all their money and power, they can’t get away with abusing government power to destroy the lives of heroic sidewalk counselors without triggering a confrontation with the Thomas More Society," he added.
"We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome," Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President & Head of Litigation, said in a statement.
"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.”
Charges stemming from the 2021 incident had initially gone through the state court system and was thrown out. The case was picked up by the Biden administration's Department of Justice nearly a year later.
On September 23, 2022, Houck's home, where his wife and children were, was swarmed by roughly 15 vehicles and dozens of armed federal SWAT officers. Houck was arrested during the incident.
Video evidence shown by the prosecution during the trial reportedly showed Love approaching Houck, who then shoved the 72-year-old back. After the show, Love fell down.
The prosecution alleged that the altercation happened after a previous engagement between the two men, but Planned Parenthood did not save any of their camera footage from the day except the excerpt shown.
Speaking outside the courthouse on Monday, Houck thanked those who supported him and his family over the duration of the trial and leading up to it.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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