"Our mission is to develop a framework for a good, successful life of each individual and of society.
Christiane Woopen is a German doctor of medicine and medical ethicist. She became a medical doctor in 1993 and worked in gynaecology and obstetrics before deciding to focus on medical ethics. She was elected into Germany's Ethics Council when it was founded in 2001, being its youngest member at the time, and went on to become its Chair in 2012, and the President of the Global Summit of National Ethics/Bioethics Committees in 2014. She is also a member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO and a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Christiane's main research interests pertain to ethical questions in reproductive and prenatal medicine, neuroethics, health literacy and quality of life, as well as the future of health care in times of digitalisation.
As Chair of the German Ethics Council, Christiane must often make difficult decisions that affect a nation of 80 million people. She and her 25 colleagues examine, discuss and form opinions on controversial issues such as stem cell research, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, abortions, biological weapons, organ transplantation and euthanasia. Many of the questions they consider are on the threshold between life and death.
Despite being leader of the Council, Christiane sees her position as only a moderator role. 'It's not my job to influence majorities,' she says, 'but to allow debate and find solutions.' Christiane believes that people should take their decisions freely, but before they make a decision, they should be made to think. 'If you act ethically, you have to consider everything.'
In addition to her many responsibilities, Christiane also finds time for her family. She is mother to four children, all of them girls.