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Defending life from the moment of conception

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John Smeaton, UK pro-life leader, given major award

10 February 2014

John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the UK's largest and the world's oldest pro-life organisation, has been given a major award.

Mr Smeaton was given the 2013 Cardinal John J. O'Connor Pro-Life Award by the Pro-Life Commitee of Legatus Legatus, founded in 1987, helps top-ranking Catholic executives become "ambassadors for Christ". The award was given in a ceremony at the 2014 Legatus Summit, held this past weekend in Orlando, Florida.

The Legatus Pro-life Committee said that "John Smeaton’s long history of work with life issues dating back to 1975 provides him with a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight to effectively deal with present-day threats to human life ... John has actually been making a gift of his own life for the sake of saving lives ... As a person and as the leader of [SPUC], John demonstrates his love, compassion and respect for the dignity of every human being". (Full text:

Pictured left to right: Tom Monaghan (Legatus founder), Josephine Smeaton (John's wife), John Smeaton, Mike Faricy (Legatus board)

Pictured left to right: Tom Monaghan (Legatus founder), Josephine Smeaton (John's wife), John Smeaton, Mike Faricy (Legatus board)

Accepting the award, Mr Smeaton said: "I am deeply honoured to receive the Cardinal John J O’Connor award. It’s also an award which honours all of my fellow workers in SPUC and its members, who are the salt of the earth. [T]he roll call of previous recipients of the Cardinal John J O’Connor – several of whom I have the honour to know personally – is humbling and inspiring. May the prophetic work of Legatus, and its ambassadors for Christ in the US and throughout the world, continue to inspire and guide the world in our struggle to build anew a culture a life in our troubled world." (Full text:

In his keynote address to the summit, Mr Smeaton warned that "there is an unequivocal determination on the part of the world’s most powerful politicians and UN officials to promote access to abortion on demand in every country of the world. Neo-colonialism is not dead on the part of the US and British governments – pushing for abortion, a crime against humanity and the greatest possible crime against children, throughout the world."

Mr Smeaton noted that "over the decades, SPUC has kept the British Abortion Act out of Northern Ireland, run major campaigns against abortion in the Republic of Ireland and in Europe, and fought many costly legal battles. SPUC has achieved some extraordinary successes, and saved many lives, and we have also experienced terrible setbacks, involving deeply disturbing advances in the culture of death. These campaigns have opened our eyes to other related evils and injustices, such as euthanasia, assisted suicide, corrupting sex education in schools and, recently, to so-called same sex marriage."

Mr Smeaton continued: "When we’re working at our best, pro-life organisations are catalysts for action on the part of the wider community, and we often punch way above our weight in terms of the human resources available to us. What we lack in numbers, we endeavour to make up for with our nearly five decades of experience, expertise, and spiritual commitment and support.

"But we cannot defeat the culture of death, which threatens constantly to overwhelm us, on our own. Pro-life organizations and the wider community must be fortified by unequivocal, unyielding voices of Catholic Church officials and bishops throughout the world." (Full text:


John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive, can be contacted on +44 (0)7785 325808 or at SPUC's communications department can be contacted on:

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