Conservatives and free speech activists on Twitter railed against a recent video depicting police interrogating and ultimately arresting a pro-life woman who was silently praying outside a U.K. abortion clinic.
Those who watched the woman’s arrest after admitting she was “praying in my head” were appalled. Some claimed this was proof that Great Britain had become a dystopia.
The woman who was arrested, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, is the director of the U.K. March for Life.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom UK (ADF UK), Vaughan-Spruce “was standing near the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham in an area ADF UK called a ‘censorship zone,’ when police approached her after an onlooker complained she might be praying outside the abortion facility.”
According to ADF UK, Birmingham authorities have established buffer zones near abortion clinics, making it illegal for people to engage in behavior disapproving or approving of abortion. This includes “graphic, verbal or written means, prayer or counseling.”
The clip shows the woman silently standing on a curb across from an abortion clinic as British law enforcement officers approach her. One asks why she is standing there and responds that she’s there because of the abortion clinic. She denies that she is part of any protest.
The officer then asks, “Are you praying?” to which she responds, “I might be praying in my head.” The officer then asks her if she’d be willing to go to the station for questioning about her actions. “If I’ve got a choice, then no,” she responds, after which the officer states, “You’re under arrest” and claims she’s charged with “suspicion of failing to comply with Public Spaces Protection Order.”
Anglican priest Rev. Calvin Robinson slammed what he saw in the footage, saying, “This is terrifying. What have we become?! Under a Conservative government, too.”
Catholic author and Compact Magazine founder Sohrab Ahmari tweeted, “OY YOU GO’ A LICENSE TO PRAY IN YOUR ’EAD MA’AM?”
Pro-life advocate Emily Rarick wrote, “This is absolute madness. How can someone be arrested for praying?”
Virginia GOP delegate Nick Freitas took the opportunity to remind users of George Orwell’s dystopia, tweeting, “1984 was a warning, not a guide.”
RedState deputy managing editor Brandon Morse made the point, “If abortion advocates don’t believe in God and think prayer is actually silly then what are they so afraid of?”
Conservative pundit Lauren Chen tweeted, “People are literally being arrested for thought crimes in the UK. Free speech is NOT a western value, it’s a uniquely American one.”
Nile Gardiner, a former aide to the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, remarked, “This is appalling. Disgraceful to see a woman arrested for simply praying on a British street. This should not be happening under a Conservative Govt, and action should be taken by the Home Secretary to ensure that scenes like this are not repeated.”
National Review staff writer Nate Hochman tweeted, “Sorry but imagine not having a First Amendment.”