Charges dropped against British woman for silent prayer outside abortion clinic, despite still vowing to fight legally

British authorities have dropped charges against a woman arrested for praying silently outside an abortion clinic in December, but warned she could face additional charges.

Last December, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, the director of Britain’s Walk for Life, was standing near the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham, when police approached after a bystander complained that she may have been praying outside the abortion center.

Vaughan-Spruce was standing in an area subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order (“PSPO”) which establishes a “safe zone” around abortion clinics and prohibits “engaging in any act of approval/disapproval including prayer.

Despite the charges being dropped, the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS) has warned that charges against Vaughan-Spruce “may well start again” in the near future, according to a report by Alliance Defending Freedom UK. , said the legal nonprofit organization representing Vaughan-Spruce.

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce (Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom UK)
((Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom UK))

British woman arrested for praying near abortion center warns more arrests could be made

To get a clear answer on whether silent prayer near abortion clinics is illegal, Vaughan-Spruce says she will now seek a clear verdict in court.

The pro-life activist says she intends to continue supporting women seeking alternatives to abortion.

“It is important for me to be able to continue my vital work of supporting women who would like to avoid abortion if they only had help. To do this, it is essential that I have a clear idea of ​​my legal status. Many of us need an answer as to whether it is still legal to pray silently in our own heads, which is why I will seek a verdict regarding my charges in court,” Isabel explained. Vaughan-Spruce in a statement shared by ADF UK on Friday.

She blasted the PSPO’s buffer zones, making her silent prayer a “criminal” activity.

“It’s not fair that I was arrested and made a criminal, just for praying in my head on a public street. The so-called ‘buffer zone legislation’ will make many more people like I do good legal activities like offering charitable support to women in crisis, or just praying in their heads, being treated like criminals and even facing court,” Vaughan-Spruce added.

Charges have been dropped against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic last December, seen here with ADF UK legal adviser Jeremiah Igunnubole. (Courtesy of ADF UK)

Charges have been dropped against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic last December, seen here with ADF UK legal adviser Jeremiah Igunnubole. (Courtesy of ADF UK)


Vaughan-Spruce’s legal counsel, Jeremiah Igunnubole, hailed his next steps as necessary due to the CPS’s warning that more charges could be pending.

“Isabel is right to seek clarification on the legality of our actions. It is one thing for the authorities to seek out and humiliatingly arrest an individual simply for their thoughts. It is quite another to initially take those thoughts as evidence. sufficient to warrant charges, then to drop those charges due to “insufficient evidence”, then to warn that further evidence relating to the already unclear charges may soon be presented in order to begin the whole grueling process all over again from the beginning,” he explained.

Several other local councils have adopted PSPO zones, raising concerns that free speech is under threat across the UK.

ADF UK’s legal adviser has warned that these buffer zones restrict freedom of “speech and thought”.

“This is a clear example of the process becoming a punishment creating a chilling effect on freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. ADF UK remains committed to supporting Isabel’s prosecution as no one should fear prosecution for silent prayer and thoughts in the privacy of their minds,” Igunnubole commented.


In “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the pro-life activist revealed that abortion supporters have also expressed concern about these anti-protest laws.

Likening it to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” she described her case as really about “freedom of thought” rather than abortion rights.

“It has more to do with freedom of thought here,” she said. “It’s even gone beyond freedom of prayer. I mean, we’re all talking about cancel culture and the concerns we have about cancel people. [for] speak in public,” she told Carlson in December.

Fox News’ Kendall Tietz and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.

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