Isabel Vaughan-Spruce Co-Director March for Life UK and Fr Sean Gough have been found not guilty today at Birmingham Magistrates Court. Here is what Isabel said on the court steps.
I’m glad I’ve been completely vindicated of any wrongdoing but I should never have been arrested and treated like a criminal simply for silently praying on a public street.
After being arrested I was asked by the police what I was silently praying for. I told them I was praying for people like my friend Amy who was raped and became pregnant and was pressured into having an abortion which she deeply regretted, for people like Natalia who took the abortion pills then passed her baby at home and saw that child down the toilet which deeply traumatised her, for people like Kirsty who also passed her child at home, in her own bed and on lifting up the covers saw what she described as being like a scene from a horror movie.
This is where the true crime exists – women being sold the lie that abortion will solve their difficulties in pregnancy, that this is being endorsed by the government and that attempts to offer women alternatives are being described as either criminal or anti-social. What is profoundly anti-social is that it is still legal to deprive certain human beings of their most basic freedom, the freedom to live and that steps are 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.
I was arrested for my prayers because of a disproportionate and far reaching censorship zone. Those who hold positions of elected power in Westminster should look carefully at what happened to me before passing Clause 9 of the Public Order Bill, which would impose censorship zones around abortion facilities across England and Wales. Nobody should be criminalised for offering help. Nobody should be criminalised for their prayers. Nobody should be criminalised for their thoughts.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me by your prayers and good wishes – you have been great source of strength.