Abortion: Police tell Catholic woman 'praying is an offence'

Abortion: Police tell Catholic woman 'praying is an offence'

A pro-life activist was arrested for the second time Tuesday for the "offense" of silently praying in her head near an abortion facility in a so-called censorship or "buffer zone" in Birmingham, England.

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce's arrest comes only weeks after the court cleared her of criminal charges for breaking a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which enforces a censorship zone around the abortion facility, according to an Alliance Defending Freedom UK press release.

Bail conditions for Vaughan-Spruce' prohibit her from entering the vicinity of the abortion facility which extends beyond the "buffer zone."

Birmingham's authorities established a buffer zone around abortion clinics, which makes it illegal for an individual to engage in any act or attempted act of approval or disapproval as it relates to abortion and includes "verbal or written means" like "prayer or counseling."

"I'm not protesting, I'm not engaging in any of the activities prohibited," Vaughn-Spruce told officers during her second encounter when they asked her to step outside the exclusion zone.

"But you said you are engaging in prayer, which is the offense," the officer responded.

"Silent prayer," she responded.

"No, but you were still engaging in prayer," he said. "It is an offense,"

Vaugn-Spruce said she disagreed with the officer, and he asked her if she would rather be arrested and taken away instead of standing outside the exclusion zone, explaining those were her only two options.

"Only three weeks ago, it was made clear by the court that my silent prayers were not a crime," Vaughn-Spruce said in a statement. "And yet, again, I have been arrested and treated as a criminal for having the exact same thoughts in my head, in the same location."

"The ambiguity of laws that limit free expression and thought – even in peaceful, consensual conversation or in silent, internal prayer – leads to abject confusion, to the detriment of important fundamental rights," she added. "Nobody should be criminalised for their thoughts."