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Christian Charity Worker Found Not Guilty For Praying Outside Abortion Clinic

  A Christian charity worker arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic received a not-guilty verdict in court Thursday. Isabel Vaughan...

 A Christian charity worker arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic received a not-guilty verdict in court Thursday.

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested in December after an officer accused her of praying outside of an abortion clinic, which is against the law in the United Kingdom. The Birmingham Magistrates’ Court ruled that Vaughan-Spruce was not guilty and acquitted her of all charges, according to Alliance Defending Freedom U.K.’s press release

Vaughan-Spruce said she was pleased with the verdict but that she “should never have been arrested for my thoughts” for “praying on a public street,” according to the press release.

Vaughan-Spruce had been accused of violating England’s Public Protection Order (PPO), which prohibits any type of demonstration or “antisocial behavior” near abortion clinics. In February, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped all the charges against Vaughan-Spruce, but ADF UK announced that they would be pursuing an official verdict in court to prevent CPS from reopening the investigation in the future.

Similarly, the same court ruled that Father Sean Gough, who had also been charged with violating PPO zones due to praying outside of the same abortion clinic, was not guilty, according to the press release.

“I stand by my beliefs – unborn lives do matter,” Gough said. “But whatever your views are on abortion, we can all agree that a democratic country cannot be in the business of prosecuting thought crimes.”

Vaughan-Spruce also condemned the U.K.’s attempts to censor speech in Thursday’s press release.

“When it comes to censorship zones, peaceful prayer and attempts to offer help to women in crisis pregnancies are now being described as either ‘criminal” or “anti-social,'” she said. “But what is profoundly anti-social are the steps 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.”

Lorcan Price, legal counsel for ADF UK, told the Daily Caller News Foundation said the verdict was “an important outcome.”

“Today’s not guilty verdict for Isabel and Father Sean represents an important outcome for people exercising their freedom of religion and freedom of speech in a public place,” Price said. “However, the law which led to the arrest and criminal charges against Isabel, and like charges against Father Sean, remains in place.  Unless the Parliament changes course and rejects new laws expanding censorship zones more people like Isabel and Fr. Sean will be harassed and arrested for exercising their fundamental rights in public.”

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