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'.

Most Rev. Anthony Fisher O.P.,
Bishop of Parramatta, Australia.

About Us

The Anscombe 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. Please click here to visit our bookshop

To sign up to our Mailing List,click here.

For more information please see the About Us section. See here for information on how to support us, including our educational work.

News & Events

Anscombe Bioethics Centre responds to proposals to allow creation of genetically modified babies

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre has produced a briefing on proposed regulations which would extend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. These regulations, which were debated in Parliament on Tuesday 3 February 2015, would allow the removal and insertion of nuclear DNA from and into eggs or embryos.

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre submitted a 3 page letter to the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee arguing against so-called mitochondrial ‘donation’ i.e. transfer of nuclear material between eggs pre-fertilisation (in the case of Maternal Spindle Transfer) or between IVF embryos used for parts to create genetically modified embryos (in the case of Pro-Nuclear Transfer). In its subsequent Report, the Committee wrongly described the Centre as advocating ‘normal IVF’ as an alternative to transferring nuclear material between eggs or embryos. In fact the Centre said explicitly in the letter that it was “opposed to the conception of children using donor eggs for a variety of reasons concerning, among other things, parental responsibility and medical risks for the woman donating”, while stressing that “the transfer of nuclear material from and into donor eggs merely adds risks for children to existing risks for the egg donor, without any medical benefit for the child.”

The video of Professor Finnis' 2014 Anscombe Memorial Lecture "Body and Soul: on Anscombe's 'royal road' to true belief" has been published on the Centre's Youtube Channel, and is available on our Multimedia page.

"On the Ethics of Organ Transplantation: a Catholic Perspective". This report is the work of an international group of clinicians, philosophers, and theologians, convened by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre. It is currently available as a pdf (free) here, and from our bookshop here (£9.95).

Tuesday 26th May - Research Seminar
Professor Christopher Kaczor (Princeton) will deliver a research seminar in Oxford on Tuesday 26th May from 1pm-3pm. His title is "Can We Believe 'All Men are Created Equal' after Darwin? Evolutionary Biology and Human Equality.”

RSVP to by Friday 22nd May. Places are strictly limited, booking is required, and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Friday 13th February 2015 - 6th Form RE conference
Sixth form conference poster This cross curricular (AQA, OCR, Edexcel) conference for sixth formers focussed on Natural Law, Virtue, and applying ethical theory to cases. In parallel with one conference session, RE/Philosophy staff had the opportunity to join a masterclass/salon with Prof. John Finnis FBA and Professor David Albert Jones.

The conference poster is available here(14.6MB) and here(209KB).

1st November 2014 - Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium
Euthanasia conference poster Serious concerns were raised at our recent conference (held in cooperation with KU Leuven, the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics and the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies at St Mary's University, Twickenham) regarding the consequences of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide. The conference included clinicians and bioethicists from Belgium, England and Scotland. A report, and video interviews are now available. The report is available here, a PRESS RELEASE here, and three video interviews conducted on the day are available here.

21st October 2014 - Professor John Finnis FBA delivered the 5th Anscombe Memorial Lecture on "Body and Soul: on Anscombe's "royal road" to true belief"
Memorial Lecture poster
The lecture will be held at 5pm on Tuesday 21st October 2014 at St John's College, Oxford. The lecture was followed by a reception at Blackfriars Hall. Poster available here
A video of this lecture is live on our multimedia pages and YouTube channel.

Dr Mary McMenamin delivered a paper to the Centre's Research Seminar on "The ethics of gene therapy" on Monday 9th June from 6pm-9pm.
Professor Nicanor Austriaco OP is the Anscombe Centre's Visiting Reserach Fellow during 2014, and visited the Centre in April/May. The focal point of his visit was a day conference on "Human Nature: Biology, Ethics, Theology" at which he presented some of his latest research. The event poster is available here

From January to March 2014 the Anscombe Centre provided a series of 6 lectures to medical and healthcare students in London. For more details, please contact David Jones at

Professor Anselm Müller delivered the Anscombe Memorial Lecture 2013. on Friday 27th September: ‘On the spiritual nature of man’. This lecture is now available on our YouTube Channel

The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe.
This major international conference on the moral philosophy of GEM Anscombe, after whom the Centre is named, was held at St Hugh's College, Oxford (where G.E.M. Anscombe was an undergraduate student) on 27th and 28th September. The conference proceedings will be published in due course.

Conference speakers included Christopher Coope, Dr Mary Geach, Prof Luke Gormally, Dr Edward Harcourt, Dr David Jones, Prof Anselm Müller, Dr Matthew O’Brien, Prof Thomas Pink, Prof Duncan Richter, Dr Roger Teichmann, Prof Jose Maria Torralba and Prof Candace Vogler.

Prof. Jones introduces Chimera's Children at the Centre's book launch event on 19th June 2013. A monograph by Dr James Mumford Ethics at the Beginning of Life: a phenomenological critique and an issue of the journal Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics were also launched.

31 January 2014 - The Centre's response to a Department of Health consultation on standard operating procedures for independent abortion providers is available here.

13 January 2014 - We would like to draw attention to this statement composed and edited by Dr Pia Matthews of St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London on behalf of a group of married and unmarried lay Catholics involved in academic research or teaching. If you agree with this statement and would like to endorse it please contact Dr Matthews at

10 September 2013 - The Director and the Governing Board of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre have agreed a statement welcoming the publication of the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway and endorsing all its recommendations, including the recommendation that the LCP should be replaced by an ‘an end of life care plan for each patient, backed up by condition-specific good practice guidance’.

A letter on presumed consent and organ donation (the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill), co-signed by the Director, is available here.