Police end investigation into pro-lifer’s silent prayer

A pro-life campaigner arrested for silently praying near an abortion clinic has welcomed a police decision not to press charges.

West Midlands Police has informed Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, the Director of March for Life UK, that “there will be no further investigation” and “no further action taken” into the alleged incident.

This was the second time she was arrested for engaging in silent prayer within a council-imposed ‘censorship zone’ in Birmingham.

‘This isn’t 1984’

Welcoming the police decision, Miss Vaughan-Spruce said: “This isn’t 1984, but 2023 – I should never have been arrested or investigated simply for the thoughts I held in my own mind. Silent prayer is never criminal.”

But she warned: “What happened to me signals to others that they too could face arrest, interrogation, investigation, and potential prosecution if caught exercising their basic freedom of thought”.

Silent prayer is never criminal.

The pro-lifer was arrested within the same Birmingham censorship zone last year and charged with “protesting and engaging in an act that is intimidating to service users”, despite the abortion clinic being closed at the time.

During the subsequent hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, the judge dismissed the case after the Crown Prosecution Service failed to provide any evidence and dropped the charges.

Lack of clarity

Home Secretary Suella Braverman recently reminded Chief Constables across England and Wales that “holding lawful opinions, even if those opinions may offend others, is not a criminal offence”.

She added: “it is worth remembering that silent prayer, in itself, is not unlawful”.

However, in March, a move to make it clear that the freedom to pray silently near an abortion clinic is protected under law was rejected by the House of Commons.

MPs gave their backing to the introduction of censorship zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales last year, after Labour MP Stella Creasy tabled an amendment to the Public Order Bill.

Also see:

Thousands of pro-lifers march to Parliament Square

Solemn witness to ‘10 million lives extinguished by abortion’

The Carla Foster case is being weaponised to push for abortion on demand

RC Archbishop decries censorship of ‘respectful pro-life witness’ in NI

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