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Isabel Vaughan-Spruce.jpg
World News

Woman arrested for ‘silently praying’ outside abortion clinic has charges dropped

by Kelly Valencia

A woman who was arrested for “silently praying” outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham has had her charges dropped.

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested and charged last December after being seen standing in a censored zone around BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham.

The censored area, commonly known as “buffer zone”, bans any behaviour that may intimidate women entering an abortion clinic.

Vaughan-Spruce was scheduled to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 2nd February 2023, but the hearing was cancelled following the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to drop the charges against her.

Although the charges have been discontinued, the CPS say they “may well start again” in the future subject to further evidential review.

According to ADF International, Vaughan-Spruce’s legal team, this is a warning prosecutors issue when they expect that further evidence will be released.

However, Vaughan-Spruce will be seeking a verdict in court as she wants “clarity” as to her “legal status”.

She said: “It can’t be right that I was arrested and made a criminal, only for praying in my head on a public street. So-called ‘buffer zone legislation’ will result in so many more people like me, doing good and legal activities like offering charitable support to women in crisis pregnancies, or simply praying in their heads, being treated like criminals and even facing court.

“It’s important to me that I can continue my vital work in supporting women who’d like to avoid abortion if they only had some help. In order to do so, it’s vital that I have clarity as to my legal status. Many of us need an answer as to whether it’s still lawful to pray silently in our own heads. That’s why I’ll be pursuing a verdict regarding my charges in court.”

Her first hearing date is yet to be set.

Premier has contacted the Crown Prosecution Service for comment.

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