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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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.

Covid Dialogue
COVID-19 Briefing Paper 7
The Ethics of Pandemic Lockdowns

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released a new briefing paper in its COVID-19 series. This briefing addresses the scientific and ethical considerations involved in evaluating whether lockdowns are justified for public health purposes or not.
COVID-19 Briefing Papers
New Webpage

We have launched a new, dedicated webpage for our series of COVID-19 briefing papers. All papers in this series are now available on this new page.

Our COVID-19 series aims to bring a diverse range of voices on board 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. It examines past challenges we have faced and the lessons to be learnt in order to improve the ongoing response to coronavirus, and identifies key questions for a post-COVID-19 future.
COVID-19 Briefing Paper 6
An opportunity to rethink healthcare ethics

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has released the sixth briefing paper in its COVID-19 series.

This paper, by Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, reflects on how the pandemic presents an opportunity for all of us to rethink healthcare ethics. It takes, as its starting point for reflection, a recent document on Global Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood by the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Holy See's bioethics body.
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 social media:

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).

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

Dying Well in a Pandemic
A conversation about treatment decisions & spiritual care

13 July 2020, 7–8.30pm
Covid Dialogue

- Dr Kathryn Mannix (Author of With the End in Mind)
- Dr Liz Toy (Consultant Clinical Oncologist)
- Fr Giles Pinnock (Lead chaplain, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust)

Dying well is something that concerns us all, pandemic or no pandemic. With the COVID-19 crisis, we are all increasingly aware of our mortality, and that is perhaps fuelling more discussions about death. In particular, we might be asking questions like: How has access to urgent, non-coronavirus treatment been affected by the pandemic? Are there new concerns brought about by coronavirus regulations that have an impact on treatment decisions and the hope of dying well? Is there a way of balancing public health concerns and social distancing rules with access to spiritual care for the dying, especially the Sacraments? Come join us for our second COVID-19 dialogue session and put your questions to our panellists.

Register now
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