Pro-life activist Mark Houck to attend State of the Union to raise awareness of gov't 'weaponization'
A Republican Congressman has invited a pro-life activist Mark Houck to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address Tuesday night, over a week after he was acquitted of federal charges related to an altercation outside a Philadelphia abortion clinic.
The advocacy group CatholicVote announced in a statement Monday that the Catholic father of seven, who was arrested by the FBI at his family home last September, will attend the speech as a guest of Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.
Houck informed Erika Ahern, the co-host of CatholicVote's "LOOPCast" podcast, of his invite in an interview that will be published later this week.
"I asked him why, why me?" Houck recalled in his interview with Ahern. "And they told me that I'm the face of the weaponization of the government."
The U.S. Department of Justice tried to prosecute the Catholic father on Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act charges and claimed he "twice assaulted" a Planned Parenthood escort while standing down the street from the clinic with his son. He faced up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000. He was acquitted unanimously by a federal jury last Monday.
The encounter in question occurred at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia on Oct. 13, 2021, as Houck and his then-12-year-old son gathered in front of the abortion facility to engage in routine prayer and attempted to convince women seeking abortions to choose a different path. Houck argued he was defending his son from the escort's continued harassment and that he "pushed" the escort as the man continued to converse with his son even after being asked to stop.
In his interview with CatholicVote, Houck acknowledged that he was "going to be used as a political pawn," stressing, "I'm OK with that."
"God's using me in this way, and light needs to be shed on this dark place," he said.
Houck's arrest sparked outrage within the pro-life movement, especially among congressional Republicans.
A group of congressional Republicans wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray shortly after Houck's Sept. 23 arrest, calling it an example of "the continued politicization" of federal law enforcement, specifically "the recent rise in high-profile FBI investigations into pro-life Americans."
Houck indicated to Ahern that House Republicans are working to address the concerns they raised in their letter to Wray now that they have retaken control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 2022 midterm elections.
"We have an interview with the [House] Judiciary Committee on February 22nd," Houck said.
"That's in advance of a potential hearing before the subcommittee that Jim Jordan is chairing … that's going to begin the process of investigating all of this. Hopefully, my testimony will be a benefit and bless others."
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com