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UK Govt Accused Of Prosecuting Pro-Life Advocates For ‘Thought-Crimes’

by | Fri, Mar 10 2023

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An English pro-life activist has been arrested for a second time for silently praying outside a Birmingham abortion clinic.

Police charged Isabel Vaughn-Spruce again just weeks after a court cleared her of any wrongdoing when she was accused of the same offences.

Video of her arrest shows the activist saying she was not intimidating or harassing anyone, or protesting.

Police told her that standing within a designated ‘buffer zone’ around the clinic was considered an offence.

Ms. Vaughan-Spruce reiterated that her earlier court ruling made it clear that her silent prayers were not considered a crime.

She said she was again being treated as a criminal for having the exact same thoughts in her head in the same location.

Her arrest came as the UK Parliament overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to the proposed Public Order Bill to exempt silent prayer and consensual conversations from a proposed nationwide ban on any protest activity outside abortion clinics.

The bill prohibits people from “influencing any person’s decision to access, provide or facilitate the provision of abortion services.”

The Conservative MP who proposed the amendment Andrew Lewer told the House of Commons: “This is leading us into the territory of thought-crimes and creates unprecedented interference with the rights to freedom of speech and thought in the UK.”

MPs did, however, vote to reduce the penalty for offenders to a fine and not imprisonment.

Legal counsel for religious freedom advocates ADF UK Jeremiah Igunnubole lamented: “Today’s vote marks a watershed moment for fundamental rights and freedoms in our country.”

“Parliament had an opportunity to reject the criminalisation of free thought, which is an absolute right, and embrace individual liberty for all. Instead, Parliament chose to endorse censorship and criminalise peaceful activities such as silent prayer and consensual conversation,” he said.

“Today it’s abortion. Tomorrow it could be another contested matter of political debate. The principle remains that the government should never be able to punish anyone for prayer, let alone silent prayer, and peaceful and consensual conversation,” Mr. Igunnubole warned.

“It is extremely regrettable that Parliament, which exists to protect and champion the rights of the electorate, has taken a clear stance against fundamental freedoms, opening the door for nationwide thought-crime prosecution.”

The Public Order Bill which has crossed all parliamentary hurdles, will create a 150-metre ‘buffer zone’ around all abortion clinics in England and Wales.