U.K. authorities have dropped charges against a charity worker who was criminally charged for praying near an abortion clinic, but her case might be far from over.
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Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) charges against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce have been dismissed, but she has no plans of stepping away from the legal battle.
According to a press release from her attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom UK, Vaughan-Spruce “will continue to await justice as she states her intention to pursue full dismissal of her charges.”
Uncertainty as to her legal rights has led the charity worker to fear potential new charges or legal issues moving forward, so she’s looking for a “clear verdict in court.”
“Given the nature of Vaughan-Spruce’s regular voluntary work in offering charitable support to women in crisis pregnancies near abortion facilities, the discontinuance has left her with significant legal unclarity moving forward, given that CPS made clear that the charges ‘may well start again’ in the near future subject to further evidential review,” the statement reads.
As CBN News previously reported, Vaughan-Spruce, the director of the UK March for Life, was arrested in Birmingham, England, this past December after she said she “might” be silently praying when questioned as to why she was standing on a public street near an abortion clinic.
Police in the UK arrest a woman for silently praying:— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) December 22, 2022
“Are you praying?”
“I might be praying in my head.” pic.twitter.com/7Q8UnKmfa1
Vaughan-Spruce was reportedly silent before police approached her and had no signage in her hands. Her offense? According to CBN News, authorities received complaints from an onlooker who suspected she was praying silently in her mind in a so-called “censorship zone.”
Video of her police encounter went viral and sparked an international reaction. Vaughan-Spruce can be seen in the clip interacting with police and explaining she “might” be praying in her head but isn’t protesting. “You’re under arrest,” a cop proclaims in the viral video before detaining her.
The City of Birmingham maintains buffer zones around abortion clinics; these designations render it illegal for people to engage “in any act of approval or disapproval” surrounding abortion, including through “verbal or written means, prayer or counseling.”
Through Vaughan-Spruce’s ADF UK attorneys, she explained why she’s forging on to seek a more definitive conclusion clarifying her legal rights.
“It can’t be right that I was arrested and made a criminal, only for praying in my head on a public street,” she said. “So-called ‘buffer zone legislation’ will result in so many more people like me, doing good and legal activities like offering charitable support to women in crisis pregnancies, or simply praying in their heads, being treated like criminals and even facing court.”
Vaughan-Spruce said she wants to be able to continue her pro-life charity work and, in order do to so, she wants to have a clear legal status.
“Many of us need an answer as to whether it’s still lawful to pray silently in our own heads,” she continued. “That’s why I’ll be pursuing a verdict regarding my charges in court.”
A court date has not yet been set. Read more about the case here.
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