In yet another assault on Christianity in Britain, a pro-life activist was arrested for silently praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, England.
On Thursday, footage was released of police arresting Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, the Director of the UK March for Life, for apparently committing the thought crime of silently praying in her own mind outside a BPAS Robert Clinic which carries out abortions in Kings Norton, Birmingham.
In the footage, an officer can be heard demanding why she was in the area, whether she was protesting, and finally whether or not she was praying. Vaughan-Spruce can be heard replying that she “might” be praying in her head.
The arrest followed a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) introduced in the area on September 7th, which banned all protests outside the clinic.
In Orwellian language, a PSPO is described as “an order that identifies the public place and prohibits specified things being done in the restricted area and/or requires specified things to be done by persons carrying on specified activities in that area.”
Police in the UK arrest a woman for silently praying:
"Are you praying?"
"I might be praying in my head." pic.twitter.com/7Q8UnKmfa1
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) December 22, 2022
In response to her arrest, Vaughan-Spruce said: “It’s abhorrently wrong that I was searched, arrested, interrogated by police and charged simply for praying in the privacy of my own mind. Censorship zones purport to ban harassment, which is already illegal. Nobody should ever be subject to harassment.
“But what I did was the furthest thing from harmful – I was exercising my freedom of thought, my freedom of religion, inside the privacy of my own mind. Nobody should be criminalised for thinking and for praying, in a public space in the UK.”
Commenting on the arrest, a West Midlands Police spokesman said that she “was arrested on December 6 and subsequently charged on December 15 with four counts of failing to comply with a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). She was bailed to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on February 2 2023.”
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Jeremiah Igunnubole, a legal counsel for ADF UK, the faith-based legal advocacy organisation supporting Vaughan-Spruce, said: “Isabel’s experience should be deeply concerning to all those who believe that our hard-fought fundamental rights are worth protecting. It is truly astonishing that the law has granted local authorities such wide and unaccountable discretion, that now even thoughts deemed ‘wrong’ can lead to a humiliating arrest and a criminal charge.”
Igunnubole went on to argue that so-called buffer zone legislation that prohibits protests in certain areas has no place in a “mature democracy” as it conflicts with the “peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of speech.”
“We are at serious risk of mindlessly sleepwalking into a society that accepts, normalises, and even promotes the “tyranny of the majority,” he continued.
This stance was supported by Baroness Claire Fox of the House of Lords, despite her personal view in favour of abortion, as she argued that it is dangerous to free speech for governments to limit protests based on the issue being discussed.
“It sets a precedent that will inevitably lead to attempts to prevent speech, expression, information sharing, assembly or the holding of protected beliefs around other sites or in relation to other controversial or unpopular causes,” Baroness Fox said.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 29, 2021
Despite concerns over freedom of speech and religious liberty, in October, the Conservative Party-led House of Commons in Westminster backed a measure proposed by far-left Labour Party MP Stella Creasy to introduce a blanket ban on protests outside abortion clinics throughout all of England and Wales.
The legislation is set to criminalise advising, informing, influencing, persuading, or even expressing an opinion within the 150-meter protest-free zone around abortion clinics, on penalty of up to two years in prison.
Despite branding itself as the ‘Conservative Party’, the Tories have vastly expanded abortion access in Britain under their rule, with the government making permanent the supposedly temporary coronavirus measure to allow women to access pregnancy-ending pills by post with little more than a phone call to a doctor, for example.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 21, 2022
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