U.K. authorities have dropped charges against a woman arrested for praying in a “no-go zone for pro-lifers,” a city area in the vicinity of abortion clinics where praying or persuading mothers not to kill their babies is prohibited. “It cannot be right for me to be arrested and turned into a criminal just for praying silently in a public street,” Vaughan-Spruce said in a statement on February 3. “The so-called ‘safe zone legislation’ will cause many more people like me who do good and engage in lawful activities, such as offering charitable support to women in crisis pregnancy or simply praying, to be treated as criminals and even end up in court,” she added.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested on 6 December 2022, in Birmingham, England, in front of an abortion center that was closed at the time, only because she had paused in silence to pray in the street facing the clinic. The video of the arrest immediately went viral. On 15 December, Ms. Vaughan was charged with four counts of violating Birmingham’s ordinance banning prayer as a “form of protest” in the vicinity of a clinic. For standing still and praying in silence, you read that correctly, she was accused of “protesting and intimidating service users.”
Vaughan-Spruce is no ordinary woman; she is the director of “40 days for life.” Surprisingly, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charges at the end of January and Vaughan-Spruce did not have to appear in court, although she can still be prosecuted if the charges are brought again. Vaughan-Spruce, while pleased with the decision of the Crown Prosecutors Office, faces “significant legal uncertainty.” Ordinary, peaceful citizens can be branded as criminals and subject to crippling financial penalties for the simple act of praying in public and offering help to women in need.
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