Pro-life activist arrested for silently praying near abortion center
A charity volunteer was arrested after she told police she “might” be silently praying when asked why she was standing on a public street nearby. an abortion facilityaccording to a report by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) UK.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, director of the UK March for Life, was standing near the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham, in an area ADF UK called a “black zone”, when police approached her. after a viewer complained that he might be praying. outside of abortion center the report said. Birmingham authorities have established a buffer zone around abortion clinics, making it illegal for a person to engage in any act or attempt of approval or disapproval in relation to abortion and includes “verbal or written means” such as ” prayer or advice”.
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“It is terribly wrong for the police to search, arrest, question and charge me simply for praying in the privacy of my own mind,” Vaughan-Spruce said after his arrest. “I was exercising my freedom of thought, my freedom of religion, within the privacy of my own mind. No one should be criminalized for thinking and praying in a public space in the UK.”
“My faith it’s a central part of who I am, so sometimes I stand or walk near an abortion center and pray about it,” she added. “This is something I’ve done pretty much every week for the last 20 years of my lifetime. I pray for my friends who have experienced an abortion and for the women who are thinking of going through it themselves.”
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Vaughan-Spruce stood near the abortion facility while it was closed three times and said she “might” have been praying, according to ADF UK. The police showed her photos of herself standing outside the facility and asked her if she was praying, to which she said she couldn’t answer because she spent time praying, but other times she was distracted.
“It is truly astonishing that the law has given local authorities such broad and irresponsible discretion, that now even thoughts deemed ‘wrong’ can lead to a humiliating arrest and criminal charge,” Jeremiah Igunnubole, ADF UK legal adviser, who supports Vaughan-Spruce, he said. “A mature democracy must be able to differentiate between criminal behavior and the peaceful exercise of constitutionally protected rights.”
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He described Vaughan-Spruce as a woman of “good character… who has tirelessly served her community” through her charitable work helping women and children, but said she “has been treated no better than a violent criminal.” “.
“We run a serious risk of sleepwalking mindlessly into a society that accepts, normalizes and even promotes the ‘tyranny of the majority,'” Igunnubole added.
As part of her bail conditions, police prevented Vaughan-Spruce from praying in public in areas other than the abortion center, according to ADF.
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UK MPs are considering legislation to introduce similar blackout zones in other parts of England and Wales that would restrict pro-life volunteers from interfering with the ability to “access, provide or facilitate the provision of abortion services”.