"Bioethics & Conscience" - International Conference

Bioethics & Conscience

 Monday, October 4, 2021

 UCLouvain - Faculty of Medicine - Brussels Campus

 Scientific committee :

  • Prof. Benoît Beuselinck - KU Leuven - UZ Leuven
  • Prof. Louis-Léon Christians - UC Louvain
  • Prof. Willem Lemmens - University of Antwerp

 60 € - The conference registration fee includes full access to the conference, lunch break and coffee breaks. Free registration for students.

 Description and program

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Description and program

Over the last few years, in Europe and Western countries, freedom of conscience of healthcare professionals has been progressively challenged as legal access to certain ethically controversial practices has expanded. This trend raises fundamental questions about the definition of healthcare and medicine, about access to certain healthcare professions, and more fundamentally about the right to conscientious objection of healthcare professionals and the freedom of healthcare institutions regarding such practices.

On the occasion of the European Institute of Bioethics' 20th anniversary, this International Conference will provide an opportunity for ethical, legal and medical reflection on these issues, thanks to the participation of numerous academics, practitioners and healthcare professionals from all over Europe.


Payment details will come to you by e-mail once your registration is validated.

Note to Belgian doctors: accreditation has been requested from the RIZIV/INAMI for participation in this conference.



9.00   Welcome - Coffee

9.30   Introduction

SESSION 1 - The status of ethically controversial practices in healthcare     

10.00   Introduction by session chairman - Pr. Willem Lemmens (University of Antwerp)

10.10   Medical ethics and controversial practices - Dr. Helen Watt (Bios Centre UK)

10.35   Obligation de l'Etat à garantir l'accès aux pratiques controversées - Pr. Bertrand Mathieu (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

11.00   Access to health professions and duty to perform controversial practices - Ruth Nordström (Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers)

11.25   Panel discussion

12.00   Lunch break


SESSION 2 – Conscientious objection in healthcare

13.00   Introduction by session chairman - Pr. Louis-Léon Christians (UCLouvain)

13.10   Conscience, morality and the law: a substantive vision - Pr. Willem Lemmens (University of Antwerp)

13.35   Individual conscience and medical deontology - Pr. Benoît Beuselinck (KU Leuven - UZ Leuven)

14.00   General right to freedom of conscience and conscience clauses in healthcare - Dr. Gregor Puppinck (European Centre for Law and Justice)

14.25   Panel discussion

15.00   Coffee break


SESSION 3 - Freedom of healthcare institutions and social pluralism

15.30   Introduction by session chairman - Pr. Benoît Beuselinck (KU Leuven - UZ Leuven)

15.40   Can a company have beliefs? - Pr. Louis-Léon Christians (UCLouvain)

16.05   Relation between freedom of conscience and institutional freedom - Dr. Raimund Klesse (Société Hippocratique Suisse)

16.30  State neutrality and institutional pluralism in healthcare - Dr. Léopold Vanbellingen (UCLouvain - Institut Européen de Bioéthique)

16.55   Panel discussion


17.30   Closing remarks - Pr. Chris Gastmans (KU Leuven)