Catholic Priest, Pro-Life Activist Cleared After Arrest for Silently Praying Outside Abortion Clinic

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
A pro-life activist and a Catholic priest were cleared after both were arrested while silently praying outside an abortion clinic in England, their cases dropped on Thursday.

In December, footage went viral of the director of the UK March for Life, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce being interrogated and ultimately arrested by police under suspicion of praying silently insider her own head outside an abortion facility in Birmingham, which allegedly might have violated a buffer zone Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

The order, which was put in place in the area outside the facility came into force two months prior. In Britain, a PSPO is described as “an order that identifies the public place and prohibits specified things being done in the restricted area and/or requires specified things to be done by persons carrying on specified activities in that area.”

Following the widely panned incident, Father Sean Gough came to the same abortion clinic while holding the sign “praying for free speech“. For supposedly violating the anti-free speech zone diktats, the Catholic priest was also charged by policy for allegedly “intimidating service-users” of the clinic, despite it being closed at the time.

However, on Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charges against both Gough and Vaughn-Spruce due to “insufficient evidence.” The pair may not be completely out of the clear yet, as the CPS said that charges “may well start again” should evidence warrant it.