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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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.

Dr Symons will be giving the keynote at the Centre's upcoming schools' event, Kantians and Utilitarians: Who is for or against euthanasia?. For more details on this event and how to register, please visit this page.
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
Catholic Bioethics and the Magisterium:
A Reading Group

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a reading group in Trinity Term 2019 on 'Catholic Bioethics and the Magisterium'. This group provided an opportunity to explore bioethical issues through Church documents and papal teaching.

Magisterial Bioethics
Dates: Thursdays of Trinity Term 2019
Time: 4pm-5.30pm
Venue: Front Seminar Room, 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

Kantians and Utilitarians:
Who is for or against euthanasia?

A Schools' Event
23 Mar 2020, 2–4pm

Venue: Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy

Schools 2020
This event is aimed at GCSE and A Level (or equivalent) students, and is particularly relevant to those studying Religious Studies or Theology and Philosophy. It will seek to explore two dominant systems of ethics in particular: Kantian ethics and utilitarianism. How might each system argue both for and against euthanasia? It is hoped that this event will stimulate further reflection on this difficult moral issue and complement examination preparation.


- Xavier Symons (Research Fellow, Institute for Ethics and Society, University of Notre Dame Australia)
- Michael Wee (Education and Research Fellow, Anscombe Bioethics Centre)

Registration is free but places are limited. The deadline for registering is Monday, 9 March 2020.

Register now by emailing
Conscience Rights or Conscience Wrongs?:
Debating conscientious objection in healthcare

25 Mar 2020, 6.30–8pm

Venue: Old Library, Oxford Town Hall

A joint event with the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics as part of the 2020 Festival of Arguments.

This unusual event will see Alberto Guibilini and David Jones adopting the other's position on conscientious objection, arguing for the opposing view in an attempt to explore not only the subject, but the very nature of disagreement and discussion. Audience members will be encouraged to explore their views on conscientious objection in the same way.

Register now
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