In Birmingham, England, a British layperson is enjoying freedom following her February 16th, 2023 acquittal of violating a Public Spaces Protection Order. Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested on December 6th, 2022, while silently praying in front of a British Pregnancy Advisory Service location offering abortions. At the time Ms. Vaughan-Spruce was arrested, the clinic was closed.
Vaughan-Spruce gave her view of the situation in January 2023 to Tucker Carlson.
Vaughan-Spruce, who has been active in the pro-life movement for several years, is the anthesis of the wild-eyed pro-lifer many pro-abortionists attempt to present. She is soft-spoken, not self-aggrandizing, and non-confrontational, working only with groups who walk the talk by providing active support for women seeking an abortion alternative.
In England, Wales, and Scotland, abortion has been legal under certain circumstances since 1967. In 2021, there were over 214,000 abortions in the three countries.
The law is nominally more restrictive than normally found in the United States.
Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith —
- that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or
- that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or
- that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or
- that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.
It should be astonishing that silently standing in front of a closed clinic could be considered a criminal act. Yet, such was the case. Further, Vaughan-Spruce and Catholic priest Rev. Sean Gough, charged with the same offense as Vaughan-Spruce allegedly committed, had to demand a trial to close the case. As the Washington Times noted:
Although the Crown Prosecution Service declined to advance either case, both were warned the charges against them could be revived if additional evidence surfaced. The defendants said they wanted a court trial to quash the charges and determine their actions were legal.
Following the acquittal, Vaughan-Spruce stated:
“I’m glad I’ve been vindicated of any wrongdoing. But I should never have been arrested for my thoughts and treated like a criminal simply for silently praying on a public street.
“When it comes to censorship zones, peaceful prayer and attempts to offer help to women in crisis pregnancies are now being described as either “criminal” or “anti-social.” But what is profoundly anti-social are the steps now being taken to censor freedom of speech, freedom to offer help, freedom to pray and even freedom to think. We must stand firm against this and ensure that these most fundamental freedoms are protected, and that all our laws reflect this.”
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Earnest prayer also terrifies the government. All the more reason to continue praying.