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ADF
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ADF
World News

'No one should be criminalised for thinking': Woman arrested again for silent prayer outside abortion clinic

by Heather Preston

A Christian woman has been arrested a second time for silently praying near an abortion facility in Birmingham.

Six police assisted the arrest of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce for engaging in prayer within the 'buffer zone' of an abortion clinic.

It comes just three weeks after a court found her not guilty of breaking the law, after she prayed outside the same clinic in December 2022.

Christian advocacy group ADF UK has been supporting Isabel's case.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, ADF UK communications officer Lois McLatchie said she found it "unbelievable" that Isabel could be arrested twice for the same offense after a court had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

"Nobody should be criminalised for what they think in a country like the United Kingdom."

"[Police] said that her prayers could amount to harassment and intimidation last time. But given that she was standing there - without showing any outward signs of any sort of emotion, just standing there minding her own business and praying in her head - it is very difficult to see how that could possibly have been true."

Buffer zones - which ban any behaviour which may intimidate women entering abortion clinics - have been introduced in five councils across England. McLatchie argues that although they stop negative behaviour such as harassment, the measures also prevent women in crisis from getting vital support.

"[The measures] also ban prayer, silent prayer, offers of charitable help from services which give woman another choice, many women feel that they have no choice but to have an abortion.

"A lot of charities like to offer financial support, emotional support, whatever it is, we have an opportunity to give this. These buffer zones ban all these good and peaceful activities.

Andrew Lewer MP for Northampton South introduced a proposed amendment to protect silent prayer and consensual communication around buffer zones in England and Wales, as part of the Public Order Bill.

He argues that without the amendment the clause would "be the first time in UK modern history that thoughtcrime will be introduced into our legislation."

Following a tabled debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, MP's voted against the ammendment.

 

 

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