‘Pro-life colossus’ retires after 20 years as SPUC CEO

The Chief Executive of the world’s oldest pro-life group has announced that he will retire next year.

Veteran campaigner John Smeaton is stepping down as the head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) after more than two decades in the post.

SPUC confirmed yesterday that his replacement will be John Deighan, deputy CEO for the past two years.


Mr Smeaton, who has been with SPUC for 45 years said: “It has been a privilege to lead the organisation through many challenging times and I am delighted to be handing over to John Deighan who was the outstanding candidate for the post.”

Mr Deighan said: “John Smeaton has been a colossus of the pro-life movement for decades. Working alongside him for the past two years has given me invaluable preparation for my new position”.

I want to see an end to abortion

He added: “My vision is that ultimately I want to see an end to abortion and I am truly committed to that end. I believe the skills we have in SPUC can be harnessed coherently for that effort.”

Mr Smeaton will formally step down in September 2021.


The Christian Institute’s Director, Colin Hart, paid tribute to John Smeaton and welcomed John Deighan’s appointment.

He said: “John Smeaton’s resolute pro-life stand has had a national impact. Through thick and thin he has been a tireless campaigner and inspired many others to join the cause. He has an unshakeable conviction that human life should be protected from conception.”

He added: “SPUC have made an excellent choice in appointing John Deighan as their next Chief Executive. He has a proven track record of working on pro-life issues and defending marriage and the family.”

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