The SWAT team arrest of a pro-life activist from Pennsylvania, coupled with the FBI’s passive response to violence committed by abortion-rights activists, explains Bill Donohue’s request for an investigation.
September 26, 2022
Hon. Chuck Grassley
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Grassley:
In your role as the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am asking you to convene an investigation, and/or a hearing, on the FBI’s behavior regarding pro-life and abortion-rights activists. There seems to be much interest in pursuing alleged wrongdoing by pro-life activists, yet little interest in pursuing alleged wrongdoing by abortion-rights activists. Bias of this kind is politically motivated and must stop.
To be specific, on September 23, Mark Houck, a pro-life activist from Kintnersville, Pennsylvania was arrested by some two dozen SWAT team agents—they came to his house with guns drawn—on grounds that he assaulted an abortion-rights patient escort at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia on October 13, 2021. He is being charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).
Houck says he shoved a man who had been harassing his 12-year-old son in front of the clinic during one of his sidewalk counseling sessions. The charges were reportedly dismissed by the District Court in Philadelphia.
I am not in a position to judge the veracity of the account offered by the FBI or Houck. But it surely seems that the FBI overreacted in its handling of this matter. Houck had seven children at home as the SWAT team pounded on his door, showing up fully armored, yelling at him to open it.
This kind of overreaction for a minor infraction of the law is deeply troubling, and it becomes even more troubling when paired with the underreaction by the Department of Justice when the pro-life side is targeted.
On June 17, 2022, I wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to “immediately deploy the full resources of the Department of Justice to apprehend and prosecute domestic terrorists who have recently attacked Catholic individuals, vandalized Catholic churches and torched Catholic-operated crisis pregnancy centers.”
I provided Attorney General Garland with specifics. “We have witnessed a rash of vandalism against Catholic churches, firebombings of crisis pregnancy centers (many of which are run by Catholics), Masses being interrupted, illegal protests outside the homes of Catholic Supreme Court Justices, and an attempted murder of one of the Catholic Justices.” I explicitly cited the work of Jane’s Revenge.
On June 29, we published a list of 16 instances of violence committed by abortion-rights protesters. We now have a list of dozens of Catholic entities, mostly churches, that have been vandalized or otherwise desecrated. (See the attachments.)
Not only did I not receive a response from the attorney general, there have been no news stories on SWAT teams crashing the homes of abortion-rights terrorists. Yet there have been many instances of violence that make “shoving” someone look like child’s play.
I implore you to get to the bottom of this duplicity.
William A. Donohue, Ph.D.
cc: Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees