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HomeChurch and MinistryPro-Activist, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, Arrested Second Time for Praying Silently in Buffer Zone

Pro-Activist, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, Arrested Second Time for Praying Silently in Buffer Zone

In a recent development, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a pro-life campaigner, has been arrested for the second time for silently praying outside an abortion clinic. 

Vaughan-Spruce was arrested on Tuesday morning by officers from the Metropolitan Police for violating a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) that prohibited activities such as praying, handing out leaflets, and counseling within a buffer zone outside the clinic. The pro-life activist, Vaughan-Spruce had previously been arrested in December 2022 for the same offense. In both instances, she was taken to a local police station for questioning.

A Christian Advocacy Group, ADF UK, has been supporting this case, and in a statement of one of their officers (Lois McLatchie) to Premier, she expressed her disbelief of the arrest, recounting that the court had set her free the first time on the basis of no evidence of wrongdoing. In her words, she said; “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.”

Lois McLatchie had also argued that the actions of the government will bar several women in crises from getting vital support needed. “[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.” 

The arrest has been met with mixed reactions, with some groups applauding the police for enforcing the PSPO and others condemning the measure as an attack on freedom of speech.

The PSPO, which was introduced in 2018, has been implemented in several areas across the UK, including Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester. Supporters of the measure argue that it protects women from harassment and intimidation by anti-abortion campaigners, while opponents argue that it curtails the right to peaceful protest.

The case is expected to reignite the debate over abortion rights and freedom of speech in the UK. It remains to be seen whether Vaughan-Spruce will be charged with an offense or released without charge as in her previous arrest.

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