Anscombe Bioethics
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Bioethics Centre
Photo of Helen Watt, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Helen Watt is Senior Research Fellow at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. From 2001-2010 she was Director of the Linacre Centre (as the Anscombe Centre was formerly known). From 1992-2001 she held the post of Research Fellow at the Centre; from 1993-1996 she was also Senior Research Associate at Peterhouse, Cambridge. Her research interests include reproductive ethics and action theory, particularly issues of cooperation and complicity. Her latest book is The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth: Exploring Moral Choices in Childbearing (Routledge, 2016).



The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth: Exploring Moral Choices in Childbearing (New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).

(Editor and contributor) Fertility and Gender: Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Ethics (Oxford: Anscombe Centre, 2011).

(Editor and contributor) Incapacity and Care: Controversies in Healthcare and Research (London: Linacre Centre, 2009).

(Editor and contributor) Cooperation, Complicity and Conscience: Problems in healthcare, science, law and public policy (London: Linacre Centre, 2005).

Abortion (London: Linacre Centre and CTS, 2001).

Gene Therapy and Human Genetic Engineering (London: Linacre Centre and CTS, 2001).

Life and Death in Healthcare Ethics: A short introduction (London: Routledge, 2000).

Articles (published since 2000)

'Improving Unjust Laws Without Inviting Unjust Plans: The Case of Abortion for Fetal Anomaly', Logos i Ethos, 53.1 (2020)

'Social and medical gender transition and acceptance of biological sex' Christian Bioethics, published online 17 September 2020,

'Covid 19 and Vaccine Ethics: Preempting Conscientious Objection', Journal of Medical Ethics Blog, 9 April 2020

'The Dignity of Human Life: Sketching Out an 'Equal Worth' Approach', Ethics and Medicine 36.1 (2020)

'Transgender Issues: The Personal Side', Catholic Medical Quarterly 70.1 (2020)

(with Anthony McCarthy) 'Targeting the Fetal Body and/or Mother-Child Connection: Vital Conflicts and Abortion', Linacre Quarterly (online first 18 November 2019)

'Gender Transition: The Moral Meaning of Bodily and Social Presentation', New Blackfriars (online first 2019).

‘Parenthood, filiation, corporeality’, in V. Paglia and R. Pegoraro (eds), Accompanying Life: New Responsibilities in the Technological Era (Rome: Pontifical Academy of Life, 2018).

‘Double effect reasoning: why we need it’, Ethics and Medicine 33.1 (2017).

'Vital Conflicts, Bodily Respect, and Conjoined Twins: Are We Asking the Right Questions?', in Jason Eberl (ed.), Contemporary Controversies in Catholic Bioethics (Cham: Springer, 2017).

'Addressing Unjust Laws without Complicity: Selective Bans versus Regulation', in Jason Eberl (ed.), Contemporary Controversies in Catholic Bioethics (Cham: Springer, 2017).

'Abortion for life-limiting foetal anomaly: beneficial when and for whom?', Clinical Ethics 12.1 (2016).

'Complicity and Cooperation in Evil', Catholic Medical Quarterly 66.4 (2016).

'Intending reproduction as one's primary aim: Alexander Pruss on "Trying for a baby"', Annals of Philosophy 63.3 (2015).

'Life and Health: A Value in Itself for Human Beings?', HEC Forum 27.3 (2015).

'Ancestor Embryos: Embryonic Gametes and Genetic Parenthood', Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (2014).

'Cooperation and Immoral Laws: Preventing Without Prescribing Harm', National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.2 (Summer 2012).

'Side Effects and Bodily Harm', Ethics & Medics 36.1 (January 2011).

'Bodily Invasions: When Side Effects are Morally Conclusive', National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.1 (Spring 2011).

'Conjoined Twins: Separation as Lethal Mutilation', in Jon Yorke (ed), The Right to Life and the Value of Life (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

'Altered Nuclear Transfer: Identifying Embryos; Respecting Procreation' in William Sullivan, Daniel Monsour, John Heng (eds), Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine (Toronto: International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, 2009).

Contribution on 'A Catholic Perspective' in M. Stephens et al., 'Religious Perspectives on Abortion and a Secular Response', Journal of Religion and Health (published on-line 30 July 2009).

'Embryos and pseudoembryos: parthenotes, reprogrammed oocytes and headless clones', Journal of Medical Ethics 33.9 (September 2007).

'The case against assisted dying', Geriatric Medicine 37.12 (December 2007).

'Becoming Pregnant or Becoming a Mother? Embryo Transfer With and Without a Prior Maternal Relationship', in T.V. Berg and E.J. Furton (eds), Human Embryo Adoption: Biotechnology, Marriage, and the Right to Life (Philadelphia and Thornwood: National Catholic Bioethics Center and Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, 2006).

'Ethical Aspects of Use of Fetal/Embryonic Cells in Treatment and Research', Zentralblatt for Neurochirurgie 66.2 (2005).

'Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Choosing the "Good Enough" Child', Health Care Analysis 12.1 (March 2004).

'Beyond Double Effect: Side-Effects and Bodily Harm', in David Oderberg and Timothy Chappell (eds), Human Values: New Essays on Ethics and Natural Law (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).

'Ethical Aspects of IVF', in Mette Lebech (ed), 2004 Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society.

'Thinking Twice: Cloning and In Vitro Fertilisation', Ethics and Medicine 18.2 (Summer 2002).

'Living Together: Pregnancy and Parenthood', in Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Series, Abortion: Whose Right? (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002).

'Decisions Relating to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: commentary 3: Degrading Lives?', Journal of Medical Ethics 27.5 (2001).