Grandma Prevails After Police Arrested Her for Silently Praying Near Abortion Clinic, Now UK Cities Seek ‘Prayer Ban’ Zones

A 76-year-old grandmother in the United Kingdom has successfully challenged her arrest that occurred while she was walking and praying silently near an abortion clinic. The charges have now been dismissed.

Rosa Lalor of Liverpool was approached by a police officer during the COVID lockdown in February 2021. Asked why she was outdoors, Lalor told the officer she was “walking and praying.”

The officer told her she wasn’t praying in a place of worship and she did not have a reasonable excuse to be outdoors. He accused her of being in front of the clinic to protest. Lalor was arrested, detained, and issued a fine.

ADF UK, a non-profit faith-based legal organization, represented Lalor in her case. The Merseyside Police Department has now said that detaining Lalor was wrong. She was acting within her rights and had a “reasonable excuse” to be outdoors praying while walking in a public space.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate a victory for Rosa today, but it is deeply regrettable that this law-abiding woman was subjected to distressing, drawn-out criminal proceedings in the first place, no doubt due to her pro-life stance. This follows a worrying trend in law enforcement where individuals are routinely arrested simply because their views are considered to be controversial or offensive,” said Jeremiah Igunnubole, legal counsel for ADF UK.

“I’m delighted that the prosecution has finally dropped this charge after a long and exhausting battle for justice. I took this challenge forward with support from ADF UK to show that we do all have a fundamental right to pray – not least pray as I did, in the privacy of my own mind,” Lalor said. “It was wrong for the police officer to tell me that I could not pray in a public street. It’s important for officers to respect basic religious freedom, and improve their understanding of how that right manifests, in order to maintain a truly tolerant society.”


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