On the sidewalk of a quiet street, a police officer approached the unassuming middle-aged woman standing silently, her hands in the pockets of a white pea coat.

“What are you here for today?”

“Physically, I am just standing here,” she replies nervously.

“Okay, but why here of all places? I know you don’t live here, nearby.”

“This is an abortion center.”

“That’s why you are here. Is you standing here part of a protest?” he asked assumingly.

“No, I’m not protesting.”

“Are you praying?”

“I might have been in my head.”

With that, the officers frisked her clothing, searched her hair, handcuffed her hands, and arrested her for violating a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

This is neither a scene from Orwellian fiction nor communist China, but in Birmingham, UK.

In an interview with The Christian Institute, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce described the scene that awaited her at the jailhouse.

Two officers interrogated her, searching to justify their arrest with more evidence of anti-social behavior. But this 45-year-old director of the March for Life UK could not give them evidence because she was accused of crimes she did not commit.

SEE ALSO: Pro Life Activists Arrested for Writing ‘Black Pre-born Lives Matter’ Outside a Planned Parenthood

When asked what she was praying about, Vaughan-Spruce told the officers the names and stories of her friends whose lives were permanently scarred by abortion.

Prayers that were between her and God.

Thoughts that belonged to no one but her alone.

Yet thoughts which the government was charging her for.

“No citizen should be criminalised for legitimate, peaceful activity, even prayer. Isabel’s case demonstrates just how far the state can go if we do not vigilantly guard fundamental rights and freedoms,” warned Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF UK) communications officer Lois McLatchie.

The right to self-government is at the heart of Western Civilization.

Because Western Civilization is founded upon the Judeo-Christian principle that man has intrinsic value as an image bearer of the Almighty God, governments are instituted among men to defend the liberties afforded to each.

Not only was this arrest in the United Kingdom a ridiculous breach of religious freedom, but also of intellectual freedom.

If a woman’s private thoughts can be labeled “anti-social” and directly punished, boy, are we in for a world of trouble.

Ms. Vaughan-Spruce has been released on bail, with the condition that she does not revisit the abortion clinic, and is scheduled to appear in court at the beginning of February.

Here in the States, with accounts of vandalism and destruction of church buildings nearly tripling in the last five years marking the increased hostility to God and self-governance, it will not be long before the UK’s reality becomes our own.

Let the West see the signs and take heed. The very principle of self-governance is under attack.

How can it survive when your own thoughts must be censored?

Catie Robertson is an intern with the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Government.

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