A woman who was arrested for a silent prayer in front of an abortion clinic in the U.K. says she was taken to the police station and questioned about her thoughts, according to a new video released online.
“I’m a friend to some, a sister to others, a charity worker, a Christian. … I’m not a criminal,” says Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who says she has been formally charged on “four counts” previously believed to be for failing to comply and “anti-social behavior” for the incident that took place in Birmingham, England.
The government website for the city describes anti-social behavior as “behaviour which has caused or is likely to cause you harassment, alarm or distress.”
“When I was taken down to the police station, I was then grilled about what I was thinking,” says Spruce.
“Later, they let me know that I’ve now been charged on four counts, because of the thoughts I’ve been thinking and where I’ve been thinking them,” she explains.
“You don’t have to be pro-life to see that this is wrong,” the activist pleas. “Freedom of thought, conscience, and belief are the most fundamental rights and are an essential part of our human identity,” she remarked.
The group that released the video and that is supporting Spruce is called the Alliance Defending Freedom U.K.
“Nobody should be arrested for the thoughts they have in their own mind. The arrest and charge appears to be premised entirely on her admission that she was praying internally,” said Jeremiah Igunnubole, Spruce’s legal representative.
“The clinic was closed and she was standing, in a public space, without once engaging anyone. As a public space, she was not banned from being present there,” the lawyer argued in a statement.
The ADF describes itself as “a faith-based legal advocacy organisation that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.”
It also publishes a magazine and provides legal commentary on court cases in the United Kingdom.
A fundraiser for Spruce to “cover the legal fees & expenses associated with court proceedings” has raised approximately $17,000 USD at the time of this publication.