The U.K. March for Life director was recently arrested after police found her praying silently outside of an abortion clinic, according to a press release by Alliance Defending Freedom U.K.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a charity volunteer and Christian, was approached by police officers on Dec. 6 outside of BPAS Robert Clinic in Birmingham, England, and asked if she was praying, according to ADF’s Tuesday press release. Vaughan-Spruce told the officers she “might be praying silently” and was later arrested.
“It’s abhorrently wrong that I was searched, arrested, interrogated by police and charged simply for praying in the privacy of my own mind,” Vaughan-Spruce stated in the release. “Nobody should be criminalized for thinking and for praying, in a public space in the UK.” (RELATED: Christian Nurse Sues The VA Seeking Exemption From Abortion Care Rule)
The press release stated that Vaughan-Spruce was also confronted by the police with pictures of her standing outside the clinic and demanded to know if she had been praying in the pictures. Vaughan-Spruce only said it was possible that she had been praying but could not know for sure from the pictures.
“[S]ome of the time she had spent praying, other times she had been distracted and thought about other things, such as her lunch,” ADF wrote. “She maintains that both of these thoughts were equally peaceful and imperceptible and that neither should be criminalized.”
Vaughan-Spruce’s bail initially prohibited her from praying in Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) zones to “prevent further offenses.” PSPOs are used in England to target “antisocial” behavior and create a “buffer zone” to prevent protests or demonstrations, according to i News.
Kathrine O’Brien from the BPAS Robert Clinic told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the clinic is looking forward to Parliament’s new amendment that will create PSPOs around all abortion clinics in England and Wales in 2023.
“Every year, around 100,000 women are treated by a clinic or hospital for an abortion that is targeted by anti-abortion protests,” O’Brien stated. “These groups attempt to deter or prevent women from accessing abortion care by displaying graphic images of foetuses, calling women ‘murderers’, and hanging baby clothing around clinic entrances, causing women significant distress.”
Vaughan-Spruce had previously been pushing back against PSPOs by working to obtain a statutory review of the “buffer zone,” according to a November press release by Christian Concern. Currently, an infraction of the PSPOs, which includes praying and using words like “baby,” “mum” or “counseling,” could result in a six-month prison sentence.
“I have devoted much of my life to supporting women in crisis pregnancies with everything that they need to make an empowered choice for motherhood. I am also involved in supporting women who have had abortions and are struggling with the consequences of it,” Vaughan-Spruce explained in ADF’s statement. “I’ve grown close to many of the women I’ve been able to support over the years, and it breaks my heart to know that so many more go through this every day.”
ADF and the West Midlands Police did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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