The United Kingdom’s West Midland Police have dropped charges against a woman arrested in March for silently praying within an abortion facility’s “buffer zone.”
The March arrest for Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a pro-life volunteer and co-director of March for Life UK, marked the second time the activist was arrested for praying silently in an abortion buffer zone, Faithwire reports.
In February, a court acquitted her of all charges from a December 2022 arrest for violating the Public Spaces Order and praying in the abortion buffer zone.
In the second arrest in March, she was praying outside the BPAS Robert Clinic in Birmingham. She told police she was not protesting but praying.
“But you said you were engaging in prayer, which is the offense,” an officer says in a video of the incident.
Vaughan-Spruce responded, “Silent prayer.”
“No, but you were still engaging in prayer. It is an offense,” the officer told her.
After the most recent announcement that the charges were dropped, Vaughan-Spruce argued that silently praying was not a crime.
She received an email recently saying that the charges were dropped – this time because of a limitation of proceedings that expired on Sept. 6.
“This isn’t 1984, but 2023 – I should never have been arrested or investigated simply for the thoughts I held in my own mind,” she said.
“Silent prayer is never criminal. I welcome West Midland Police’s decision to end their investigation and their apology for the time it took to do so, but it’s important to highlight the extremely harmful implications of this ordeal not just for myself, but for everyone concerned with fundamental freedoms in the UK. What happened to me signals to others that they too could face arrest, interrogation, investigation, and potential prosecution if caught exercising their basic freedom of thought,” the statement said.
Photo courtesy: ©ADF UK, used with permission.
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.
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