The founder and Chairman of Life, which campaigns to provide “positive alternatives to abortion”, has retired after working for the organisation for nearly 50 years.
Professor Jack Scarisbrick was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to vulnerable people and has been praised for doing “incomparable work for unborn children and their mothers”.
As he left the charity, he called on those battling against abortion to take courage from the abolition of slavery.
Prof Scarisbrick founded Life in 1970 after the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act. He and his wife Nuala argued that all human life should be respected from conception to its natural end.
He explained that the charity made history by speaking about the issue of life as a human rights concern, rather than simply a “religious” one.
It is absurd to say that a being becomes more human the older or bigger it is.
Professor Jack Scarisbrick
And despite the many challenges it faced, today Life offers information, counselling, accommodation to vulnerable people and education talks to over 25,000 students every year.
Prof Scarisbrick wrote: “It is now an unassailable fact that human life begins at conception.
“It is absurd to say that a being becomes more human the older or bigger it is.
“That the unborn child cannot have or does not have legal rights is mere assertion and flies in the face of the fact that our law has protected the child in the womb since the twelfth century.”
Following the Paralympics in 2012, Prof Scarisbrick was among numerous pro-life leaders who called for the scrapping of the law which allows disabled babies to be aborted anytime up to birth.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the campaigners argued that abortion on the grounds of disability is a form of “eugenics.”
Prof Scarisbrick, who turns 89 this year, will be replaced by Laura Higgins. Higgins, a primary school teacher, has been involved with Life for many years and said continuing the work would be “no mean feat”.
John Smeaton, the Chief Executive of pro-life group the Society for the Protection of Children, praised the departing Professor for his pro-life work in Britain.
“Professor Scarisbrick has also been at the cutting edge of educational work about abortion”, he said, adding that it was the Professor’s writings that started him on the pro-life journey.