United Kingdom: Police apologize to woman they arrested for praying silently at abortion clinics

“This isn’t 1984, but 2023. I should never have been arrested or investigated simply for the thoughts I held in my own mind," said Isabel Vaughan-Spruce.

Police in the United Kingdom have finally dropped charges against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a woman who was arrested for praying silently outside an abortion clinic. Authorities apologized for the time the investigation took.

Vaughan-Spruce, director of March for Life in the United Kingdom, was arrested in March for “engaging in prayer” after police saw her standing on a public street near an abortion clinic located in a “buffer” zone in which people are prohibited from praying because it is considered a protest against abortion.

After several months of investigation, police decided not to press charges and apologized to the woman. However, Vaughan-Spruce stressed that she should never have been arrested or investigated in the first place.

“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. I welcome West Midland Police’s decision to end their investigation and their apology for the time it took to do so, but it’s important to highlight the extremely harmful implications of this ordeal not just for myself, but for everyone concerned with fundamental freedoms in the UK", expressed.

Vaughan-Spruce lamented that if this happened to her it could also happen to others “if caught exercising their basic freedom of thought.”

The director of the March for Life recalled that this is not the first time that authorities have arrested her for praying and then come to the conclusion that silent prayer is not a crime.

In December last year, the British woman was also arrested after police saw her standing silently near the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham.

At that time the authorities also asked her if she was praying, and although she could have lied to them, she decided to say yes, which led her to be arrested and go through a judicial process that culminated in February when the authorities dropped the charges against her.