A woman in Birmingham, UK was arrested and charged for the vicious and uncouth criminal behavior that is TOTALLY unacceptable in England.
She was praying, silently in her head and her heart, near an abortion mill.
Police approached Isabel Vaughan-Spruce standing near the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham. Vaughan-Spruce was carrying no sign and remained completely silent until approached by officers. Police had received complaints from an onlooker who suspected that Vaughan-Spruce was praying silently in her mind.
In England, the law states that you can't engage in certain activities near an abortion clinic which might inhibit people from going inside.
Basically, you can't protest or anything like that in a certain area.
Isabel was inside this zone and had the police called on her because someone SUSPECTED she might be inwardly praying.
She wasn't making a ruckus, she wasn't protesting – she was just standing there and praying.
"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," said Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, following her arrest for silent prayer.
The censorship zone measure introduced by Birmingham authorities criminalises individuals perceived to be "engaging in any act of approval or disapproval or attempted act of approval or disapproval" in relation to abortion, including through "verbal or written means, prayer or counselling…"
Man, can it get any more Orwellian than that? They're arresting people in the UK for their THOUGHTS!
The police interrogated her, showed her photos, and asked if she was praying in any of the photos they took!!!
When shown pictures of herself outside the abortion facility by police, Vaughan-Spruce was questioned as to whether she was praying in the photos. She said she could not answer – some of the time she had spent praying, other times she had been distracted and thought about other things, such as her lunch. She maintains that both of these thoughts were equally peaceful and imperceptible and that neither should be criminalised.
"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," said Jeremiah Igunnubole, Legal Counsel for ADF UK, the legal organisation supporting Vaughan-Spruce...
As part of her conditions for bail, Vaughan-Spruce was told that she should not contact a local Catholic priest who was also involved in pro-life work – a condition that was later dropped.
Police also imposed restrictions, as part of her bail, on Vaughan-Spruce engaging in public prayer beyond the PSPO area, stating that this was necessary to prevent further offences.
The UK may have been a home of freedom of speech and religion in the past, but those days are long gone.