Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a woman who has previously been detained and later released for silently praying outside an abortion clinic, has been warned with a fine for repeating the offence.
Earlier this month, the charitable worker was standing within a so-called “buffer zone”, an area which bans behaviour that may intimidate women entering an abortion clinic, when she was approached by two police officers who asked what she was doing.
In a video published by ADF, an officer can be heard asking Vaughan-Spruce if she was present to protest or silently pray for the lives of "unborn children". While she clarified that she was not there to protest, she acknowledged that she was silently praying.
The police officers then issued a fine, which was later retracted by the council.
Vaughan-Spruce has had multiple encounters with the police for the same offence. Earlier this year, a court found her not guilty of breaking the law after she prayed outside an abortion clinic in December 2022. Last month, West Midlands Police announced that it was dropping an investigation into another incident where she stood outside an abortion clinic to silently pray.
A few weeks ago, Home Secretrary Suella Braverman wrote a letter to police chiefs, to among other things, share her thoughts on those who wish to pray outside abortion clinics, saying that "silent prayer, within itself, is not unlawful".
Buffer zones have been implemented in five councils across England but do not prohibit merely being present within the zone. England and Wales are considering national legislation on this matter, while a draft bill is going though the Scottish parliament.