Sen. Josh Hawley wants Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain why pro-life activist Mark Houck was arrested the way he was last weekend. The Missouri Senator joins a long list of public figures questioning the agency’s growing over-use of force.
Some 30 heavily armed FBI agents in 15 vehicles raided the residence of Houck, who leads a nonprofit group that provides sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics in Philadelphia. They were belatedly responding to an incident last year involving his then-12-year-old son at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. Pennsylvania pro-life activist Ashley Garecht said Houck was protecting his son from an aggressive Planned Parenthood escort who was harassing the boy, noting that the case was dismissed by a federal court in Philadelphia when the escort tried to press charges.
“If the shocking reports about the FBI arresting a man Friday in rural Pennsylvania are true, then you have a lot to answer for,” Hawley said in a letter to Garland. “These reports state that federal authorities obtained a warrant under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act to arrest Mark Houck for allegedly committing a single count of simple assault by pushing a man near an abortion clinic. Houck contends that he only did so to defend his child against the man, and local authorities have already dismissed a separate criminal complaint against Houck for the conduct.”
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Hawley positioned the arrest against the Justice Department ignoring dozens of attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers and churches by abortion extremists following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I want to know from Merrick Garland directly why Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists — complete with SWAT-style tactics — while letting actual terrorist acts like fire bombings go unpunished,” he said. “The corruption and abuse of law is out of control. Come January, the new Republican Congress must launch a thorough, public investigation of DOJ and the FBI — from their targeting of parents to religious protestors to political opponents.”
The senator also demanded answers within 10 days to three questions concerning Houck’s arrest, including why it took 20 to 25 armed feds to execute an arrest for an alleged simple assault.