"charged with thoughtcrime".
A Video has emerged of UK police arresting a woman for the crime of standing outside an abortion centre and silently praying.
The incident occurred last month outside the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham, but has come to light with fresh footage being shared on Twitter.
The video shows Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, Director of the pro-life organisation UK March for Life, being arrested and charged with four counts of violating a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that has been put in place to prevent anti-abortion groups from gathering outside the clinic.
Ms Vaughan-Spruce is allowed to be stood there legally, but authorities have issued a PSPO which is an “abortion buffer zone” which means that, in Birmingham, you’re in breach of these local authority rules even if you're just standing engaging in silent prayer.
The order prohibits “protesting, namely engaging in any act of approval or disapproval or attempted act of approval or disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services, by any means,” including “graphic, verbal or written means, prayer or counseling” outside the abortion clinic."
This remember is England, a Christian Country, where the head of state is also the Head of the Church, where freedom of religion is enshrined in law but where a local authority's diktak appear to override the laws of the land.
Vaughan-Spruce claims she was “searched, arrested, interrogated by police, and charged simply for praying in the privacy of my own mind.” The Pro-Life activist, and those helping her with the case, are claiming that she has been charged with a “thought crime.”
“Nobody should ever be subject to harassment. But what I did was the furthest thing from harmful – I was exercising my freedom of thought, my freedom of religion, inside the privacy of my own mind,” Vaughan-Spruce further noted.
She added, “Nobody should be criminalized for thinking and for praying, in a public space in the U.K.”
The right to freedom of religion and belief.
In the UK, human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act gives effect to the human rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 9 - the right to freedom of religion and belief is one of the rights protected by the Human Rights Act.
Birmingham's local authorities should probably familiarise themselves with that.