'To Fine Somebody for Their Thoughts Is Grossly Orwellian': UK Police Target Praying Woman Again
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A new video posted online reveals the United Kingdom's "Thought Police" are back in action.
New footage obtained by the nonprofit law firm Alliance Defending Freedom UK (ADF UK) shows an officer employed by West Midlands Police investigating the thoughts of a Christian standing still while silently praying within an abortion "buffer zone" in Birmingham on Oct. 18.
The individual who was praying in the video is identified as Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a pro-life volunteer, and co-director of March for Life UK. As CBN News has reported, she has been vindicated twice for having committed no crime after she silently prayed inside an abortion "buffer zone."
The video shows Vaughan-Spruce telling the Police Community Support officer she was not participating in a protest. There is no prohibition on being merely present in the zone, the ADF UK said in a statement.
But the officer asked her if she was silently praying for "unborn children" and if she was a member of a pro-life or pro-choice organization, the nonprofit law firm said.
Vaughan-Spruce later received a notice of a fine, but the Birmingham Council later said it would not impose the fine on this occasion, but issued a warning that it would do so in the future.
In addition, another Christian in Birmingham, Patrick Parkes, was approached by officers on Oct. 13 at the same abortion facility and questioned about the content of his thoughts. He later received a warning that he would be fined if he silently prayed again in the abortion zone, the ADF UK said.
According to the law firm, another individual recording video of the police officer's interaction with Parkes also received the same warning.
"The UK government urgently needs to clarify that silent thoughts can never be illegal – even if those thoughts are in disagreement with the views of the State. This is the third time I have been treated like a criminal for peacefully, silently, and imperceptibly praying for women who are likely facing one of the worst days of their lives," Vaughan-Spruce said in a statement.
"The buffer zone regulation has already sought to prevent me and others from counseling women desperately in need of help. And now, authorities are trying to remove my ability even to pray for these women. To fine somebody simply for their thoughts is grossly Orwellian and an insult to the freedoms that Britain is meant to protect," she continued.
Vaughan-Spruce is no stranger to the West Midlands Police. As CBN News reported in September, the police finally dropped a charge against her after she was arrested in March for a second time for the "offense" of silently praying in her head within an abortion facility "buffer zone."
She also received an apology from the police department for the six months the investigation took to reach a conclusion.
"It's not for authorities to determine the thoughts in the privacy of an individual's mind. Yet the PCSO officer saw fit to pry into the content of Isabel's private prayers, and inquire as to her membership of a pro-life organization – neither of which are criminal acts," Barrister and Legal Counsel for ADF UK Lorcàn Price said in a statement. "To think that our already stretched policing resources are being squandered on silent prayers this month – at a time when significant demands are being placed on police forces – is remarkable."
"The enforcement policy of police forces in relation to matters concerning speech and thought is now intolerably unclear. Legislators must now introduce concrete changes to law to safeguard the peaceful expressions of speech and free exercise of thought. Paying lip service to fundamental rights is insufficient. A failure to act will not only damage any remaining confidence in policing but will also tarnish the UK's reputation for fundamental rights abroad," Price continued.
Last March, members of Parliament tabled a proposed amendment to the Public Order Bill that would have recognized "consensual communication or in silent prayer" outside the clinics or hospitals offering abortion services.
The British public has also criticized UK law enforcement authorities for failing to make crime prevention a real priority instead of pursuing a "woke" agenda.
In a survey of British citizens last January, more than four in 10 believed the police are more interested in "wokeness" than catching criminals, according to a study conducted by Public First and the think-tank More in Common, The Daily Mail reported.
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