Pro-Life Father Acquitted in Trial Over Abortion Clinic Confrontation

Thomas More Society

Mark Houck, 48, was acquitted yesterday in a high-profile prosecution by the Biden Administration under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.  Houck was accused of pushing a Planned Parenthood escort during a clash outside an abortion clinic. It is a rare victory for Houck and the Thomas More Society (which represented Houck) under the act. Houck insisted that he was trying to protect his twelve-year-old son in the encounters with Love. There is also an interesting wrinkle in the jury deliberations.

The FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”

The Biden Administration alleged that Houck “forcefully shoved” Bruce Love, a 72-year-old volunteer at a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood on Oct. 13, 2021. The trial explored two different encounters with Love.

In the first encounter, Houck was across the street on a sidewalk counseling two women who had left the Planned Parenthood clinic. Love followed the women. The Justice Department says that Houck elbowed Love because he was a clinic escort. Houck testified that Love startled him and made contact with him, causing him to say “What are you doing?” and hip-check him out of reflex.

Houck testified that he told Love to “Stay away from my son” and “Don’t come near us” when Love approached them on the sidewalk after the first incident.

His son, Houck Jr. also testified and said that Love stood close to him as he taunted his father saying “You’re hurting women. You don’t care about women.” He then said Love said the same to him and added “Your dad’s a bad person. Your dad’s harassing women.” He said that he moved away from Love out of fear.

It was a highly contested account, but the Biden Administration decided to prosecute and later went to Houck’s home to arrest him. The arrest drew criticism after a large number of FBI agents descended on the home.

What was interesting is that the jury previously declared itself deadlocked and was sent home on Friday. However, a juror was then reportedly replaced by an alternate juror on Monday afternoon. They then quickly reached an acquittal. It is not clear if the deadlock was due to that one juror, but a consensus that formed during that day.

It is not uncommon for jurors to overcome a deadlock, particularly after an Allen charge. Named after the United States Supreme Court case Allen v. United States (1896) where it was first used, it is called the “dynamite charge” to break deadlocks. It is unpopular with most defense attorneys because it encourages the majority to work to convince the minority — often breaking down the resistance of holdouts.

It is not clear if the jury simply overcame its divisions after a weekend break or whether the replaced juror was a holdout.

The acquittal in a FACE Act case is relatively rare given the “cut-and-dry” language of the law.

We recently discussed an English case that showed its own efforts against pro-life protesters when a woman was arrested for praying near a clinic.



76 thoughts on “Pro-Life Father Acquitted in Trial Over Abortion Clinic Confrontation”

  1. Turley begins today’s little turd piece with a series of lies: “Mark Houck, 48, was acquitted yesterday in a high-profile prosecution by the Biden Administration under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.”…”The Biden Administration alleged that Houck “forcefully shoved” “…..”It was a highly contested account, but the Biden Administration decided to prosecute and later went to Houck’s home to arrest him. ”

    Turley DOES know better: he knows that the prosecution was NOT brought in the name of “the Biden Administration”–it was brought by the DOJ. Unlike Trump, who fully politicized the DOJ, Biden is hands off when it comes to the DOJ. He also knows that “the Biden Administration” did not arrest anyone–the FBI did. He also knows that, unlike Trump, Biden does not control the FBI, either.

    See, this is how trial lawyers work: they create a theme and then try to fit the evidence into the narrative of the theme. That’s exactly what Turley does when he tries to create the false impression that “the Biden Administration” controls the DOJ and the FBI, that it directs their law enforcement activities, and not only that, that “the Biden Administration” lost a legal case. Turley has lost all credibility as a legal scholar. I’m ashamed for him.

    1. “He also knows that, unlike Trump, Biden does not control the FBI, either.”

      So Trump controlled Wray but Biden doesn’t? How do you figure?

      1. Notice how FBLie Director Wray was in Davos a scant couple weeks ago gushing to his WEF crowd how complicit and controlled the Media is to the will of the govt. You have to ask yourself why is the director of the FBLie in Davos , and then giving a speech to these Globalists as though it was a report on their progress. In any other time in history this would have gotten said Director fired , …. but it shows those “at the top” approve and financed this little propaganda tour of his.

    2. Looks to me Biden’s main supporters are going to remove him now.


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      1. Even Turley’s use of the descriptor “pro life” is misleading–these people are ANTI abortion, ANTI choice. All part of the little word games Turley is paid to play.

    3. The FACE act should be found unconstitutional.

      There is no general police power for the federal government.

      First this should be left to local governments, and second, neither pro-life nor pro-choice fascilities shoudl be singled out for special protection.

      These cases should be simple and conducted under the normal criminal law of the jurisdiction.

      It may be more comon for undesireable conduct near an abortion clinic or a pro-life center, but the issue is he conduct – not the fasciility itself.

      We do not need special laws for every special interest group.
      We should not have special laws for ANY special interest group.

      1. These cases should be homicide cases.

        This law is an unconstitutional denial of the freedom of speech.

        This law erroneously conflates anti-abortion speech with intimidation, harassment and violence.

    4. Gig…begins her turd screed……. see how that works ….you should look in th emirror more often …you likely wont like what you find if your writing is in any measure like what you see.

    5. The constitution says the entire executive power of the USA is vested in the president. If the DOJ is not the Biden administration then what right does it have to exercise executive power?

  2. Was Love a 72-year-old destroyer ESCORT loaded for bear, as it were?

    At 72 years of age, was being an ESCORT his passion and taken a little to seriously?

    Destroyer ESCORT
    U.S. Navy
    General description

    Full-sized destroyers must be able to steam as fast or faster than fast capital ships such as fleet carriers and cruisers. This typically requires a speed of 25–35 knots (46–65 km/h) (dependent upon the era and navy). They must carry torpedoes and a smaller caliber of cannon to use against enemy ships, as well as antisubmarine detection equipment and weapons.

    – Wiki

  3. Process Request: Would the Anonymous’ pls designate themselves with something (perhaps Anonymous 1 or Anonymous Liberal or Conservative, or Anonymous Contrarian) so it is a bit easier for the casual, infrequent visitor to recognize who is whom?

    thank you in advance. Stay Calm, Stay Well, and Carry On!

    1. Madison, certain ‘commenters’ on this blog have a long-established tendency to smear the names of commenters they don’t like. For this reason, liberal commenters have no logical incentive to use any type of designation.

      Even a moniker as oblique as ‘Anonymous 1’ will invariably lead to smears like, “Anonymous 1 is a groomer”, or “Anonymous 1″ packs inflatable dolls in his car trunk”. These are the gimmicks Trumpers resort to when faced with arguments they can’t win.

    2. The way to handle it is very easy since the Professor won’t (apparently in the name of free speech). Neither read nor reply to any anonymi

  4. Meanwhile, At Professor Turley’s Day Job, Vending Machines Offer Morning After Pills

    A vending machine that provides emergency contraception has been installed at a Washington DC university, as colleges contend with how to protect reproductive rights on campus.

    Students at George Washington University successfully obtained the vending machine dispensing morning-after pills following concerns in the wake of the supreme court’s ruling last summer to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that had ushered in the constitutional right to an abortion.

    The campaign to get the machine installed was led by student leaders within the university’s student government.

    “After Roe v Wade was overturned, we felt a lot of passion in making sure that people felt supported on this campus,” Neharika Rao, a sophomore at the university who is active in student government, told NBC Washington.

  5. After 24 hours of fertilization, a zygote exists as the first step of a human life which, if not aborted, will persist for ~76 years.

    Abortion is homicide.

    That should take care of this preposterous case and this redundant, extreme and unconstitutional law.

    1. I totally agree with you re when life begins and that abortion is homicide but the law in question relates to someone violently interfering with another person’s free will, not to when life begins. I don’t believe that was what happened in this case and apparently the jury agreed… but that does not make the law unconstitutional

      1. These cases should be homicide cases.

        This law is an unconstitutional denial of the freedom of speech.

        This law erroneously conflates anti-abortion speech with intimidation, harassment and violence.

      2. If I see someone about to commit a murder, is it not my right and also my civic duty to violently interfere with their free will, if I can do so?

  6. Professor Turley Writes:

    “In the first encounter, Houck was across the street on a sidewalk counseling two women who had left the Planned Parenthood clinic.”

    One has to stop right here and ask, ‘What counseling has Houck to offer?’

    Are we to presume that women with appointments at PP clinics are just ‘space cadets’ and ‘dizzy dames’ who don’t know their own minds? These women just aimlessly wander to PP without considering the implications?? These women need a male Catholic activist to ‘counsel’ them so they fully understand what they’re doing???

    What if the situation was reversed? Let’s say that Mr Houck was going to a gun store to buy a new hunting rifle. And in the parking lot of the gun store, two young women approach Mr Houck to ‘counsel’ him on gun purchases.

    “Sir? We’re bright college girls from the local university and we suspect you’re not informed enough to make an educated gun purchase. Do you know that having a gun in your home means your family is ‘X’ times more likely to suffer a gun-related death?”

    To this Mr Houck would probably respond with, “Who the f*** are ‘you’ to question ‘my’ judgment?”

    In giving this response, Mr Houck would be rightly expressing the sentiment that most women feel when having anti-abortion activists get in their faces outside PP clinics.

    1. Irrelevant and a typycal deflection from the story. Why did Love venture across the street? Was this zealot upset that a contrary ideology was being offered to these tools of prog/left propaganda? You see, “annonymous” that you CAN look at a story from many angles, not just the pre-programmed one that the prog/left jams down our thoats with a vengence.

      1. Alma deflects!

        The Catholic church is currently imploding at a rate where it may not survive this century. To think Catholic activists have genuine counsel to offer is assuming way too much.

        1. Our population growth rate is also threatened by policies promoted by planned parenthood and this guy, Bruce Love. Not only is it bad advice for an individual to kill their children, it is bad advice for a society as a whole.

          1. Societal Growth Rate,

            You and Wise Counselor below share the same ink blot symbol; meaning you forgot to switch emails when you switched names. How many of these comments are your’s??

          2. Read an article the other day, since the over turn of Roe, men getting vasectomies is on the rise.
            Kinda funny when you think about it. The wokeists are killing off or preventing their future voting bloc.
            As for population growth, we are looking more and more like Japan. Even the Japanese acknowledge their society is in danger of collapse.

        2. Breaking my rule against answering anonymi,
          1. I think Houck was encouraging use of a nearby pregnancy crisis center… whether run by the Catholic Church or not I dunno — and certainly a Catholic would have as much free speech rights to direct people to the pregnancy crisis center as Love would have to direct people to the eugenics clinic
          2. what you say about the Catholic Church in the United States is true… And the same is true of all Christian and — I think — Jewish denominations in the United States and of Christian denominations in Europe. Outside the U.S., the universal Catholic Church is growing rapidly… both the parts that follow the Roman tradition and eastern rite versions as well, with the major growth area being Africa.

    2. You should research those whom have been counseled in the past. They are out there and I had read their stories. Those which receive good counsel, decide to choose life and allow the child to be born then respond years later stating it was the best decision they made. Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 12:15, Psalm 1:1-6

      1. You should educate yourself on the surveys of women who chose to terminate their pregnancies–overwhelmingly they report that it was the right decision, that they don’t regret it, that they are grateful to have the right to make this decision, and that all women should have this right to personal autonomy as to whether to continue an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy, free of the judgmental opinions of other people. According to “The Guardian” : 95% of women believe they made right decision to have abortion.
        Five-year study surveyed 667 women across 21 states

        1. GiGi

          Nearly everyone thinks that almost all decisions they made in their lives were the right decision.

          Women who had abortions mostly do not regret it.
          But if the same women is persuaded to keep the child – they do not regret that either.

          This is not a useful metric.

          1. Just HOW many women do you think get “talked out’ of getting an abortion by some right-wing zealot who accosts them on the street when they’re trying to get into a clinic, calling them “baby killers” and “murderers”? Not many, if any. Asking women whether they later regret getting an abortion is the best measure to determine whether there is widespread regret over the decision. Studies show that most of these hecklers are white men over the age of 60. That should also tell you something.

            1. “Just HOW many women do you think get “talked out’ of getting an abortion by some right-wing zealot who accosts them on the street when they’re trying to get into a clinic, calling them “baby killers” and “murderers”?”

              I do not care.

              You seem to think I am arguing for a specific out come ?

              I am arguing for Freedom. For free assembly, for free speech.

              I do not care if you are protesting at an abortion clinic or at Walmart – it is all the same.
              I do nto care if you are protesting against abortion or Global Warming change.

              I do not care if no one is listening.

              BTW 41% of men oppose abortion, 35% of women.
              The gap is not large. Hispanics oppose abortion more than any other race.
              And support for abortion declines rapidly with age.

              Regardless, my argument was not about abortion – except that it is not “special”.

              No view or value or position is special.

              You have the same right to protection of your views if you are a nazi as if you favor abortion.
              You have the same right to protest global warming as abortion.

              You have the same right to protest – if no one is listening.

              I would further note that protestors at obortion clinics tend to insult those who work at those clinics.
              They try to appeal to women seeking abortions rather than insult them.

              Not that this changes the questions of rights even a little.

        2. Most SS officers and concentration camp staff didn’t regret their crimes either — at least until they came up for sentencing. Then most of them faked sudden regrets.

    3. “One has to stop right here and ask, ‘What counseling has Houck to offer?’”

      – Aninny

      Probably the inverse of the incoherent and hysterical counseling to kill babies (i.e. little tiny human beings under the protection of the womb and the mother, as it were).

  7. You can protest at Kavanaugh’s house, even after an assassination attempt, you can close a major highway, you can throw paint on a Van Gogh, but don’t stand near a clinic or we will send THIRTY AGENTS to your house.

    1. The prog/left is growning apprehensive about the efficacy of their twisted message and have entered stage 2 of their drive to hold us all under their thumb?

  8. With all the legal dust ups in the world and the US today, this seemed to be about the worst use of our tax dollars for dealing with “criminal issues”. The mere fact the locals wanted nothing to do with this is salient to this argument. Seems the most reasonable course would have been a requirement by the judge to have some deconfliction counseling by both men to resolve what may have been a personal issue with the abortion clinic just adding background to the ongoing argument. As far as the son being there, I would ask why not? I suspect his father was teaching him about the issue of abortion and the rights of people to protest. Teachers have drafted students into action supporting their strikes for more cash or in opposition to school board or other governmental policy. Also Mr. Love was not seeking an abortion so where is his position in this law. He was an “escort” and that seems to not give him the right to accost anyone, whereas a lady seeking abortion might have a different right to not being impaired from seeking an abortion. Bodyguards have been found liable in the past for injuries dished out to fans and protestors.

    1. Having some small experience with such “escorts,” it’s worth noting they are effectively pro-abortion demonstrators. The local abortion mill is “protected” by local ordinances prohibiting pro-life prayer groups, etc., from being on the premises of the building that houses the mill, to include standing in the parking lots, during the building’s hours of operation. That is, they must stand about 40-feet from any of the entrances. The “escorts” have the local police on speed dial.

  9. The Biden Administration, in concert with the Democrat party, are who should be investigated. When an obvious felon like Hunter Biden, who’s taken millions from foreign agents in exchange for access to the US Government officials and who has spent that money on drugs and prostitutes, has lied in gun registration documents, and has accessed government documents without security clearances, hasn’t had his home and expensive cars raided at gunpoint – but the Houke’s have – you know you’ve got fascist government. This government and the Obama government before it used the arms of the state to intimidate and persecute their political enemies – individuals, corporations, and political officials. That’s what a “semi-fascist” does – if anyone actually knows the definition.

  10. When you say that acquittal is rare under that law because of its “cut and dry language” what you really mean is that Biden should not have brought charges in the first place and that any judge worth a dam would have thrown the case out of court months ago

  11. It’s mind-boggling to me that Merrick Garland’s justice department is willing to prosecute a praying father over an alleged minor tussle, but refuses to prosecute the rioters in cities throughout the nation who have burned down cities- costing citizens and governments billions of dollars

  12. This is another example of DOJ misusing its muscle to intimidate anyone who opposes Biden or his policies. It doesn’t matter that the victim of the abuse was ultimately vindicated. The message was delivered and it has a chilling effect on anyone daring to defy the Biden administration.

  13. With the militaristic raid and trumped-up charges, this was Brown Shirt intimidation by the ever more authoritarian DOJ. The jury saw through it. Good for them. Good for our jury system as a check on government power.

    1. Our esteemed Vice President wisely counseled to get down to causes and conditions.

      Want causes and conditions for the Memphis police violence. For committing crimes under the color of authority? Go no further that the DoJ/FBI since Obama. Stripping political adversaries of Constitutional protections. IRS refusing conservative groups of tax free status, for no reason other than politics.
      We can go back further. Ruby Ridge. Murder.
      Branch Davidians. Murder. Much like the raid on David Houck, a show of power, for nothing but its intimidating brutality.
      How about the DoJ taking down Arthur Anderson, one of the premier accounting firms in the world? Weisman was in on that….Overturned by unanimous decision of SCOTUS, but the message was sent.

      1. Garland is believed to have lead the “The Noble Lie” of OKC.

        Again OKC just lead back to the Bush/Clinton,s Mafia, Whitewater scam & others I forget.

        1. Garland is believed to have lead the “The Noble Lie” Coverup of OKC.

          Again OKC just lead back to the Bush/Clinton,s Mafia, Whitewater scam & others I forget.

  14. And now you bring your son in order to use him as a defense. Yep, the man has sooooo many scruples. Like many pro-lifers it’s all about control. They will tell us all how to live and they will physically attack if you don’t comply. God tells them to do it so it’s ok. I want to know why his son was there in the first place.

    1. “And now you bring your son in order to use him as a defense. Yep, the man has sooooo many scruples.”
      Yeah, he shoulda let the old guy harrass him. Do you have any male genes, JH? Oh and you didn’t mean “scruples.” You meant “balls.” As for control, why not let the fetus and teh father have some of that. There’s three interests in this situation, not just the one the media hypes.

    2. Wanting you to not kill unique human life is not telling you how to live, it’s telling you how to save a life.

    3. You misstate the case: those who oppose abortion certainly want it to end everywhere, and forever. The vehicle to do that here is through legislation, the passage of which is a function of changing hearts and minds.

      1. Are laws against murder efforts to change hearts and minds ?

        Every law has the potential side effect of attempting to change some hearts and minds.
        It also has the direct effect of using force to punish the FEW who would not naturally follow the law.

        The important parameter is not “legislating morality” – all laws do that.
        It is not changing hearts and minds – all laws do that.

        It is that for a law to work – to be reasonably efficient, to improve society rather than tear it apart,
        That law must have super majority support.

        51% of the people can not FORCE 49% to live as they wish.
        Not only is that immoral but it is highly inefficient and doomed to fail.

        Good law is law that atleast 90% of people will obey – even if there was no punishment for violating it.

        The root of law is morality – but it is that morality shared by 90% of us.

        The larger the proportion of people that will only obey a law if compelled the larger the police force must be and the more expensive the law is.
        Until society is all police.

  15. “Love stood close to him as he taunted his father saying “You’re hurting women. You don’t care about women.””

    This strikes me as odd as the waste from a “clinic” contains destroyed human female remains. But Love cares about women?

  16. “… the Biden Administration decided to prosecute and later went to Houck’s home to arrest him. The arrest drew criticism after a large number of FBI agents descended on the home.”

    I would hope that that made the verdict an easy decision for the jury. Unless they had some reason to believe that the arrestee wouldn’t show up in court, there’s no basis I can think of to arrest him instead of issuing summons to appear. Under the circumstances as described, an arrest is a form of putting the punishment BEFORE the verdict.

    1. Of course it was punishment. Despite Houck’s not actually having violated the law (as the state agreed when they declined to press any charges), and the “escort” was violating the abortion mill’s own policies.

      But, with today’s left, it’s all the Queen in Alice – “Sentence first-verdict afterward.”

      1. I posted this Reply approximately a half hour ago, but this defective website hasn’t posted it — so I’ll try again here:

        I’ll simply note here that you’ve cited that quote a number of times over the years in various articles concerning various topics, and with each passing citation it seems to become more and more relevant as an emerging form of postmodern “justice” — especially if one includes media smears as part of the extrajudicial pretrial sentencing process.

        1. Here’s another from the same author, even more all-too-apt:

          ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

          ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

          ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

          Chilling, is it not?

  17. When the Dimstapo loses in the City of Bidenly Love, something is terribly wrong in the coven. People are slowly .. ever so slowly … waking up to notion that the DOJ isn’t about law enforcemnt anymore. Rather, its about stopping views they don’t like. The let BLM mobs burn cities but jump a guy protecting his kid from a creepy old man who loves killing them. Then to add inuslt to injury they assemble a task force of D-Day-equipped badge boys to arrest the guy in front of his kids. To quote Al Pacino, “there’s something really wrong is goin’ on here!.” And maybe even Dim juries have gotten the word.

    1. Great clip Mespo, still after I don’t recall how many times I’ve, still just as great as the 1st time.

  18. it would interesting if the Jury just nullified a bad law. The Govt fears an informed citizenry, striking down laws because they are wrong, or the govt is misapplying.

  19. Houck was on Hanity with his lawyer and he said that he and Love have had words before over the years and that they were at the corner and not in front of the Clinic, they has video tape which showed the shove, Houck said Love was extremely aggressive not as he has been. So perhaps the video along with the explainations convinced the jury to say NOT GUILTY. Also, Houck Lawyer said the Gov’ts prosecutor came from DC, the top lawyers on these cases, they went all out with their heavy guns and as USUAL BIDEN ADMIN. Loses again in the courts, especially in Philly perhaps a friendly court to the Gov’t. ITs the Right Decesion NOT CUILTY

  20. I’m wondering if, like the recent decisions about NY gun laws, this strengthens the rights of protestors and volunteer counselors outside of abortion clinics? Also, am wondering if the ridiculous and unnecessary armed raid on Houck’s home made it much easier to make the case for acquittal? God works in mysterious ways!

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