A woman who was cleared of all charges in a Birmingham court just last month has been arrested AGAIN for engaging in silent prayer near an abortion clinic, with officers telling her: “you’ve been engaging in prayer, which is the offense”.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce of 40 Days for Life and March for Life UK was approached by police officers and told: “You’ve said you’re engaging in prayer, which is the offense.”
“Silent prayer,” she responded.
“You were still engaging in prayer, which is the offense,” the officer replied.
🚨BREAKING: Isabel has been arrested, AGAIN, for THINKING.— ADF UK (@ADF_UK) March 6, 2023
MPs vote TOMORROW on banning silent prayer near all abortion facilities in🏴&🏴
"You've said you're engaging in prayer, which is the offense."
"You were still engaging in prayer, which is the offense." pic.twitter.com/AId3OguiXz
Ms Vaughan-Spruce said that she was not protesting but silently praying but the police officer said that it was “people’s perceptions” that mattered.
Police wrongly claimed that the PSPO "buffer zone" banned Isabel from simply standing near a clinic.— ADF UK (@ADF_UK) March 6, 2023
This is simply not true. A court ruled only weeks ago that Isabel broke no laws by thinking a prayer in her mind.
How can MPs roll out this law with so little clarity? pic.twitter.com/whcuDtKvz5
Human rights defenders Alliance Defending Freedom said that “police wrongly claimed that the PSPO “buffer zone” banned Isabel from simply standing near a clinic.”
“This is simply not true. A court ruled only weeks ago that Isabel broke no laws by thinking a prayer in her mind,” they said. “How can MPs roll out this law with so little clarity?
They added that MPs could amend Clause 10 of the Public Order Bill to prevent pro-lifers being arrested for silent prayer. “This isn’t 1984. The UK Parliament should not be introducing the first thoughtcrime into UK law<” they wrote.
Just three weeks ago, Ms Vaughan-Spruce and a Catholic priest, Fr Sean Gough, who were separately arrested and prosecuted for silently praying near an abortion clinic, were acquitted of all charges.
They were found not guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court on February 16th after the court heard that four charges of failing to comply with a PSPO brought against both pro-lifers had been dropped.
The Crown Prosecution Service had decided in both cases that the ‘full code test’ for prosecutors had not been met – an assessment of whether prosecutions are in the public interest and if there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
The video of Ms Vaughan-Spruce’s arrest in late December went viral, after she was filmed being searched and arrested by three police officers after saying that she ‘might be’ praying inside her head.
There was a public outcry as millions of views were racked up on uploads of the video seen across the world, amid claims censorship zones are now resulting in the policing of thought and a limiting of freedom of religion.
This piece was first published on Gript.
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