After a six-month investigation, West Midlands police have decided to drop charges against a British woman who was arrested for silently praying near an abortion clinic.
West Midlands police have announced that there will be “no further investigation into the alleged matter, and there will be no further action taken” against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, the director of the UK March for Life. The police also issued an apology to her for the length of time it took to reach their conclusion.
“Earlier this month, we advised a 46-year-old woman who was arrested in March on suspicion of breaching a PSPO that she would not face further action. We continue to liaise with Birmingham City Council about enforcement of the PSPO,” the police statement read.
Vaughan-Spruce was arrested in March for praying silently on a public street near an abortion facility known as the “buffer zone”
The “buffer zone,” was introduced by local authorities via a “Public Spaces Protection Order” and is designed to protect women seeking medical procedures or advice at an abortion clinic. It bans prayer, amongst other activities that are considered a protest against abortion.
“Silent prayer is never criminal,” Vaughan-Spruce said in a statement after receiving the police apology. “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.”
“What happened to me signals to others that they too could face arrest, interrogation, investigation, and potential prosecution if caught exercising their basic freedom of thought,” she added.