The anti-domestic violence agency White Ribbon has parted ways with its chief executive three months after her appointment.
The organisation said in a statment: "White Ribbon Australia’s Board of Directors announced today that Delia Donovan has assumed the role of Acting CEO after the employment of Tracy McLeod Howe ended."
Ms McLeod Howe was appointed to lead the organisation in late June, having held positions including chief executive of Domestic Violence NSW.
Acting White Ribbon chair Ian Carter AM said in the statement: "We thank Tracy for the past three months and we wish her well in her future endeavours."
“We are focusing all of our resources on supporting critical frontline efforts to stop the appalling level of men’s violence against women across Australia," Mr Carter said in a written release on which White Ribbon refused to elaborate.
Ms McLeod Howe came under intense criticism in October for withdrawing White Ribbon's statement of support for women's reproductive choice.
The words “all women should have complete control over their reproductive and sexual health” were removed, causing significant anger in the women's health and safety sector.
Some were reportedly notified of the change the day after Queenslanders voted to legalise abortion.
Tracy McLeod Howe at a Waverley College anti-violence against women event with school captain Oscar Osborne and TV host Andrew O’Keefe.Credit:Fiona Morris
White Ribbon ambassador Rob Manwaring tweeted: "As a white Ribbon Ambassador I strongly disagree with this decision by @WhiteRibbonAust. Women must have full access to abortion services and it is a fundamental part of gender equality. We can’t be ‘agnostic’ about gender equality."
Anti-violence against women advocate, and former Sydney Swans footballer, Luke Ablett said on Twitter that he would refuse to appear at White Ribbon events until the decision was reversed.
The move was interpreted as an attempt to appease religious groups.
After the backlash against the apparent downgrading of White Ribbon's support for women's reproductive autonomy, the statement returned to its website.
Ms McLeod Howe apologised to concerned parties on Twitter on October 19, saying, "I should not have taken down reproductive rights statement ahead of the planned community consult. "
She had previously been quoted by a news outlet as saying the organisation was "agnostic" regarding abortion and it was her job to represent a movement of diverse members.
White Ribbon made news this week when it announced it had cut ties with the former NSW opposition leader Luke Foley after he stepped down on Thursday in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
The Age has contacted Ms McLeod Howe for comment.
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