Anscombe Bioethics
Vatican Double Helix Staircase

Bioethics Centre

'... not just the premier Christian bioethics
institute in Britain, but one of the finest in the
world, Christian or secular'.

The Most Rev. Anthony Fisher O.P.,
Archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

 
About Us

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (originally known as the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics) is a Roman Catholic academic institute that engages with the moral questions arising in clinical practice and biomedical research. It brings to bear on those questions principles of natural law, virtue ethics, and the teaching of the Catholic Church, and seeks to develop the implications of that teaching for emerging fields of practice. The Centre engages in scholarly dialogue with academics and practitioners of other traditions. It contributes to public policy debates as well as to debates and consultations within the Church. It runs educational programmes for, and gives advice to, Catholics and other interested healthcare professionals and biomedical scientists.

We also run an online bookshop, where you can buy our publications securely, and make conference bookings.

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  News

New COVID-19 Briefing Paper
Mental health and the ethics of lockdown


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has published a new briefing paper in its COVID-19 series, on 'Public Mental Health and the Ethics of COVID-19 Lockdowns'.

All our COVID-19 briefing papers can be found on our dedicated page for this series. With this series we aim to address ethical issues of particular interest to the Catholic community, and the wider general public, that have arisen in the course of the pandemic. These papers examine the challenges we have faced and the lessons to be learnt in order to improve the ongoing response to coronavirus, and they also identify key questions for a post-COVID-19 future.

In order of publication, the briefing papers address the following topics:

1. Resource allocation and ventilators
2. COVID-19 vaccines and foetal cell-lines
3. The NICE guideline on critical care decision-making for adults
4. Care homes and older members of the community
5. COVID-19 and adults with learning disabilities or autism
6. Commentary on the Pontifical Academy for Life’s Global Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood
7. The ethics of pandemic lockdowns
8. An Irish perspective on the ethics of triage
9. Public mental health and the ethics of lockdown
Dying Well in a Pandemic
A conversation about treatment decisions & spiritual care


On 13 July 2020, the Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a Zoom event on the subject of dying well, with specific references to the challenges of the ongoing pandemic such as the difficulties in accessing spiritual care or being present at loved ones' bedsides. We thank Dr Kathryn Mannix, Dr Liz Toy and Fr Giles Pinnock for guiding us through this discussion so ably as our panellists, and we thank all participants for joining in and contributing to what was a fascinating evening for all of us.

A video recording of the event is now available on our YouTube channel:

Press Statement (3 July 2020)
Proposed amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill in relation to abortion


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released a press statement commenting on proposed amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill that seek to entrench the provision of home abortions in law and to remove the restrictions and safeguards of the Abortion Act 1967. The Domestic Abuse Bill is due to receive its Third Reading on 6 July 2020.
COVID-19 and Medical Ethics:
A dialogue session for Catholics in Healthcare


On 25 June 2020, the Anscombe Bioethics Centre held its first Zoom event on the COVID-19 crisis. It was wide-ranging discussion, with topics like care homes, virtual consultations with GPs and other doctors, the 'new normal' for the NHS and the uncertainties involved in providing moral advice at this time all featuring in the conversation.

We thank Dr Adrian Treloar, Dr Pia Matthews and Dr Andrew Papanikitas for agreeing to be panellists, and we thank all participants for joining in and contributing to what was a fascinating evening for all of us.

A video recording of the event is now available on our YouTube channel:

Press Statement (20 May 2020)
Opt out organ donation system in England


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released a press statement commenting on the introduction of an opt out system for post-mortem organ donation in England, which takes effect today.
Visiting Research Fellow 2020:
Dr Xavier Symons


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has appointed Dr Xavier Symons as Visiting Research Fellow for 2020. Dr Symons is a Research Associate in the Institute for Ethics and Society at University of Notre Dame Australia in Sydney and is the convener of the Bioethics and Healthcare Ethics research programme.
Press Statement (27 Jan 2020)
Appointment to the Pontifical Academy for Life


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released a press statement welcoming the appointment of Mr Michael Wee, the Centre's education and research officer, to the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Anscombe Memorial Lecture 2019
Video recording


A video recording of Dr Maureen Condic's lecture, 'Twinning and Human Individuality', is now available on our YouTube channel:

Office Relocation

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre is relocating its office premises on 24 Nov 2019. Please address all correspondence to our new address:

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre
The Macmillan Building
Pembroke College
St Aldate’s
Oxford OX1 1DW
United Kindgdom

The Anscombe Memorial Lecture:
'Twinning and Human Individuality'


Maureen On 8 Nov 2019, Dr Maureen L. Condic delivered the 10th annual Anscombe Memorial Lecture. addressing the subject of identical twinning and the status of the human embryo.

Dr Condic is Associate Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and a Correponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The Anscombe Memorial Lecture is an annual series given in honour of the philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, who taught at Oxford and Cambridge and was well-known for her defence of human life. The Lecture is co-sponsored by Blackfriars Hall.

We are grateful to Dr Condic for giving such a fascinating lecture, and to Blackfriars Hall for their continued support.
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide:
Philosophical and Empirical Perspectives


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a half-day symposium on euthanasia and assisted suicide. Papers were given by:

- Dr Jorge Martinez (Associate Professor, Institute of Philosophy, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile)
- Prof. David Paton (Professor of Industrial Economics, University of Nottingham)

With responses by:

- Prof. David Albert Jones (Director, Anscombe Bioethics Centre)
- Dr Pia Jolliffe (Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford)

Jorge Symposium
Date: Saturday, 19 October 2019
Time: 1pm-4.30pm
Venue: Blackfriars, Oxford

Briefing Paper (18 Sep 2019)
The Law Commissions' Consultation on Surrogacy Law


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released a briefing paper on an ongoing consultation on proposed reforms to surrogacy law in the UK. The Anscombe Centre encourages all interested parties to respond to this consultation, details of which are provided in the briefing paper, along with a brief presentation of the ethical considerations involved.
Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue
A joint research seminar


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Aquinas Institute of Blackfriars, Oxford held a joint research seminar on 'Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue'. Papers were given by:

- Dr Janice Chik (Visiting Scholar, Aquinas Institute)
- Mr Michael Wee (Education and Research Officer, Anscombe Bioethics Centre).

Anscombe Aquinas
Date: Thursday, 11 July 2019
Time: 2pm-4.30pm
Venue: Blackfriars, Oxford

Press Statement (24 June 2019)
Forced abortion is not the mark of a humane society


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released a press statement welcoming the Court of Appeal's decision to overturn a ruling of the Court of Protection which would have forced a mentally disabled woman to have an abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Privacy and Autonomy in Medical Law and Ethics:
Emerging Trends


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held an international symposium on emerging trends in medical law and ethics. Papers were presented by:

- Prof. Ryan Meade (Loyola University Chicago Law School)
- Mt Rev Dr Thomas Paprocki (University of Notre Dame Law School)

With responses by:

- Prof. Jonathan Herring (Oxford University Law Faculty)
- Very Rev Dr Robert Gay (Blackfriars, Oxford).

Privacy
Date: Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Time: 1pm-4.30pm
Venue: Aula, Blackfriars, Oxford
Elizabeth Anscombe Centenary Symposium:
Ethics and Agency


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of Elizabeth Anscombe's birth, on the theme of 'Ethics and Agency'. Papers were presented by:

- Prof. David Albert Jones (Director, Anscombe Bioethics Centre)
- Prof. Maria Alvarez (Professor of Philosophy, King's College London)
- Dr Roger Teichmann (College Lecturer in Philosophy, St Hilda's College, Oxford)
- Dr Lucy Campbell (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Warwick)

Anscombe Lecture 2018
Date: Monday, 18 March 2019
Time: 1pm-4.30pm
Venue: Blackfriars, Oxford

For more on the life and philosophical thought of Elizabeth Anscombe, please visit this page.

  Upcoming Events

Monday, 2 Nov 2020, 4 - 5.30pm (GMT)

Event: Mind, Brain or Heart?
The ethics of treating mental illness

A panel discussion with Neil Armstrong, Stipendiary Lecturer in Anthropology at Magdalen College, Oxford, Patricia Casey, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mater Hospital Dublin and Michael Wee of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre.

Register now

Monday, 23 Nov 2020, 4 - 5.30pm (GMT)

Event: Conscience and the respect for difference:
A legal-historical perspective on Toleration, Nonconformity and Equality as constitutional principles

The 2020 Anscombe Memorial Lecture will by given by Aidan O'Neill QC (Scot.) QC (E&W). More details to follow.

Register now

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