Republican lawmakers in the House Judiciary Subcommittee criticized the Biden administration’s weaponization of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, highlighting the selective enforcement of a law that was supposed to protect pro-abortion and pro-life establishments equally from violence and intimidation, but which has been used instead to intimidate pro-lifers peacefully exercising constitutionally protected speech.
Mark Houck, a father of seven who was charged by the Biden administration’s DOJ under the FACE Act but was acquitted by a jury, testified at the hearing. Seated behind him were his family and Thomas More Society general counsel Andrew Bath.
The witness presented by the Democrats on the committee was Talcott Camp, chief legal and strategy officer at the National Abortion Federation, who faced questions regarding controversial remarks she made in the past about crushing baby’s skulls during abortions.
Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy pressed Camp on her comments, but she falsely claimed the videos were heavily edited and denied knowledge of making those statements even though they are visible for all to see.
The hearing also discussed the hundreds of attacks on pregnancy resource centers and Catholic churches since the Dobbs leak in May 2022. Pregnancy resource centers, operated by pro-life individuals, aim to provide support and alternatives to abortion for expectant mothers. Hundreds of these centers have been vandalized by a group called Jane’s Revenge, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks. These attacks, often accompanied by threats, are clear incidents of pro-abortion violence that have gone unprosecuted by the highly politicized FBI and DOJ.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the agency that enforces the FACE Act, is headed by Kristen Clark, whom Senator Ted Cruz described as “the most radical nominee ever put forward for any position in the federal government.”
FACE is supposed to prohibit threats, obstruction, and property damage related to abortion mills and pro-life pregnancy centers equally. And yet, the FACE Act has almost exclusively been used to prosecute peaceful pro-lifers.
While there have been hundreds of pro-abortion acts of violence and vandalism, the DOJ has only charged four individuals in Florida. In contrast, although no violence was committed by pro-lifers in the United States, the DOJ has charged 26 pro-life individuals with FACE Act violations in 2022 alone, including sidewalk counselor Mark Houck and the head of Personhood Tennessee, Paul Vaughn.
During the hearing, Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan showed how Houck was deliberately targeted by federal authorities to intimidate other peaceful pro-lifers . Jordan expressed grave concerns about the political bias at the hands of federal law enforcement and cited a memo proposing informants and surveillance within the Catholic Church to monitor individuals like Houck and his family.
Houck testified that his family had been targeted and mentioned being on a watch list, aligning with Jordan’s assessment.