British Woman Arrested For Silently Praying Near Abortion Clinic

Americans tend to believe that freedom of speech is a value represented across all of western culture from the US to Europe to Australia and beyond.  However, this is simply not the case.  While there have been numerous attempts to degrade the 1st Amendment in America, being arrested outright by police for your thoughts alone is not a low we have sunk to yet.  In the UK and through most of Europe it's a different story.

UK laws designed to prevent the obstruction of businesses have opened the door to policies called Public Space Protection Orders, which create a "buffer zone" around certain areas or buildings and prohibit activities that, in the words of UK authorities, foster "anti-social behavior."  Yes, this is as Orwellian as one could imagine, but it gets even worse. 

In October, a PSPO was declared around an abortion facility in Bournemouth, U.K. A picture of a sign, obtained by ChristianConcern.com, outlined where a number of activities were banned. Among them were “prayer or counseling” as well as “holding vigils where members audibly pray, recite scripture, genuflect, sprinkle holy water on the ground or cross themselves if they perceive a service-users is passing by.”  These activities do not obstruct the operations of the clinic in question, but they do make pro-abortion advocates angry. 

In other words, the neighborhoods around abortion clinics are now consecrated ground where even private thoughts against the establishment's practices are illegal.  If the simple presence of Christians near the building makes people uncomfortable, then they have broken the law and can be arrested.  It sounds ridiculous, but here is the proof:

A pro-life woman was arrested earlier this month for silently praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, U.K. on the grounds that she had breached a speech buffer zone established by the local city council.  Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was subsequently charged with four counts of failing to comply with a Public Space Protection Order.

The greater threat inherent in these kinds of laws is that they can be broadly interpreted and are often broadly applied over time.  A PSPO might apply to one building this year, and next year it could apply to an entire city, or the entire country.  Once a government is given the power to arbitrate "anti-social behavior" and punish citizens for something as subjective as ideas that offend other citizens, that society is now on the fast track to full blown tyranny.  The government is no longer a protector of rights and is now an oppressor of liberties. 

It would appear that the UK, in legal terms, is utterly lost.

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