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SPUC Steps Up Campaigns Against Threats From Pro-Abortion Lobby as John Deighan appointed deputy CEO

16 July 2018

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the world’s oldest pro-life campaign group, has confirmed the appointment of John Deighan as its new deputy chief executive.

Mr Deighan has been chief executive of SPUC Scotland for the last three years and will continue in that post while he takes on new responsibilities for SPUC’s overall operations.

Mr Deighan said:

"I am very much looking forward to my enhanced role. This additional responsibility gives SPUC the opportunity to strengthen the vital pro-life work we do across the UK.

"Pro-abortion campaigners have revealed the extent of their ambitions, such as abortion on demand until birth, the unsupervised use of abortion pills and the suppression of pro-life speech. We therefore have an urgent task of restoring a proper sense of human rights to ensure our society can flourish in future and that all lives can be respected."

He added: "I will be assisting with the growing work of the Society in response to various threats to the right to life from the ambitious pro-abortion lobby."

His expertise in the fields of human rights, political campaigns and media will be key to the functions of the newly-created post.

He said that SPUC’s future plans involved investing more in research work which will be a foundation for its efforts to spread the pro-life message with Dr Anthony McCarthy heading up a newly created research directorate within SPUC as part of structural changes within the organisation.

Mr Deighan comes to his new position armed with a strong track record in political campaigning and media engagement on ethical issues over more than 20 years at both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.

He was the architect of several successful campaigns to resist assisted suicide proposals in the Scottish Parliament over more than 15 years.

He has appeared regularly in the print media and on TV and radio as a spokesperson for SPUC and in his previous role as parliamentary officer for the Catholic church in Scotland.

He was also a columnist for several years in the Scottish Catholic Observer and Flourish newspapers.  

Equipped with an in-depth expertise on Catholic social and moral teaching he is also a visiting lecturer for the Maryvale Institute and teaches on the course for Diaconal students on Catholic Social Teaching and Bioethics.

He was also a founding member and coordinator of Scotland for Marriage which was the leading group defending traditional marriage in Scotland in the face of the government and Scottish Parliament initiatives aimed at redefining marriage and family life.

He has been actively involved in pro-life work over the years has included chairing the East Kilbride SPUC branch in the mid-90s, forming and running Paisley Pro-Life group and running that for over a decade from 2006.

In 1997 he stood as a candidate in the General Election for the Pro-Life Alliance and received the highest vote of any candidate for the party throughout the UK.

He has been involved in many organisations and initiatives related to political and social issues including several years involved in international efforts to promote ethical values.

Mr Deighan said: "Over the last three years at SPUC Scotland I have built a dynamic and effective team. I created a strategic vision to guide our activity and worked on identifying appropriate staff to deliver on targets and objectives. I have consequently achieved much higher profile for the Society and greater engagement with key stakeholders, the media and political representatives."

He has also devised a detailed vision for a schools’ education programme aimed at overcoming the challenge that many young pupils were already pro-abortion in the early years of secondary school.

The Pro-Life Pathway aims to lead children through a formation in pro-life issues during their school years such that they have a coherent grasp of the SPUC vision on life and relationships.

He has been closely involved in the Right Side Tour, a project aimed directly at countering the efforts of pro-abortion campaigners. It deals with the current danger of abortion decriminalisation and encourages local supporters to be on the right side of history for the abortion issue.

He was also at the centre of the Care Not Killing Scotland campaign which was a crucial initiative and the key reason for the defeat of euthanasia proposals in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Deighan is also secretary to the SPUC Trust for the last three years with a responsibility for the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH), and has managed to grow the counselling work and revitalise this important part of SPUC’s work.

He said: "More women are seeking help, more befrienders are now trained, and the profile of the organisation is growing steadily."

Mr Deighan said he is firmly committed to advancing the aims of SPUC in the future.

He said:  "The society is the key pro-life organisation in the UK combatting an increasingly aggressive culture of death. The society is also increasingly important on a global scale.  I am eager to play a part in ensuring that SPUC prevails in achieving justice for the unborn and contributing to the growth of a culture of life."

John Smeaton, SPUC’s CEO, commented:

“I relish the opportunity of working more closely with John Deighan in his new role as SPUC’s overall deputy chief executive, whilst continuing his essential chief executive role in Scotland.

 "John Deighan is passionate about the pro-life cause and effective in communicating the importance of the cause to others. He works enthusiastically to create and develop opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of initiatives to promote justice for the unborn and the vulnerable.

"He is an analytical thinker, professionally trained in systems analysis and project management. This has been a vital dimension to his work in leading SPUC Scotland and in understanding the demands of interacting with various types of organisations and professions.

"I believe his skills in identifying functional requirements for organisations, combined with his strategic awareness of the political and cultural challenges will prove an invaluable asset for developing SPUC to build on its already strong foundations.  

"He is enthusiastic and committed to working well with others. He is particularly good at encouraging others and helping people in teams develop their skills and talents.

He has strong values and is resilient in pursuing goals. He is not daunted in the face of hostility and opposition.

"He has strong communication skills in public speaking and in dealing with the media.

"John Deighan’s appointment will hugely strengthen the work of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children throughout Britain, Northern Ireland and internationally."

Contact us

For more information, please contact Alithea Williams, SPUC Communications Officer, on:

  • t: 020 7820 3121
  • m: 07792372599
  • e: alitheawilliams@spuc.org.uk 
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Comments (1)

  • Stephen Gallacher

    20 July 2018, 10:56pm

    Congratulations John. May God bless you in this new work.

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