My PhD project is entitled "After the Eighth: Abortion and the Politics of Reproduction in Post-Repeal Ireland". On 25th May 2018, after a fiercely fought campaign, Irish citizens voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment (the country’s constitutional ban on abortion) and replace it with more liberal legislation. National abortion services have now been in place since early 2019. This project aims to situate abortion within Ireland’s broader politics of reproduction by exploring: i) how Ireland’s new abortion law is being translated into services and practices on the ground; ii) the social, cultural, and political role(s) of abortion in contemporary Ireland; and iii) how the tools and strategies of reproductive governance and resistance are evolving in the post-repeal context. To answer these questions, I am conducting 18 months of ethnographic research, collecting data at the national, regional and local levels. By using abortion as an analytical lens, this project seeks to advance understanding on the complex interplay of state, church, and medical governance in a transitional legal context, and the shifting ways in which institutions and individuals exert agency and practice resistance. From an applied perspective, insights generated can also be used to inform future reproductive policymaking, provision, and advocacy.
This project is supervised by Dr. Lucy Lowe and Dr. Jessica Cooper. It is funded by an Alice Brown PhD Scholarship and Parkes Foundation PhD Grant.
MSc in Medical Anthropology, University College London
BA in English, University of Bristol
Awards and honours
Council on Anthropology and Reproduction Graduate Student Paper Award
Dean's List, University College London
Eades, L. (2020). 'What do Abortion Pills Mean During a Pandemic?'. Covid-19 Perspectives Blog, 8th May. blogs.ed.ac.uk/covid19perspectives/2020/05/08/what-do-abortion-pills-mean-in-a-pandemic-asks-leah-eades/.
Eades, L. (2019). ‘Social realities, biological realities: the 24-week fetus in contemporary English abortion activism’. Women's Studies International Forum, 74: 20-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2019.02.005.
Eades, L. (2017). ‘Dialogical (de)medicalisation in British abortion activism’. UCL Medical Anthropology Blog. 21st November. medanthucl.com/2017/11/21/dialogical-demedicalisation-in-british-abortion-activism/.
Selected conference papers
Eades, L. (2019). 'Accounting for the anthropologist in the social lives of medicines'. Medical Anthropology Young Scholars (MAYS) 10th Annual Meeting. University of Turin. 4-5th July.
Eades, L. (2019). ‘Abortion pills: in the post and in the past’. BSA Human Reproduction Study Group Annual Conference. De Montfort University. 12th June.
Eades, L. (2018). ‘Contested biosociality: the tricky question of post-abortive identity’. Remaking Reproduction: The Global Politics of Reproductive Technologies. University of Cambridge. 27-29th June.
Social Anthropology 1A: The Life Course
Social Anthropology 1B: Anthropology Matters
Anthropology of Sex and Reproduction
Anthropology of Health and Healing
Organiser, Edinburgh Abortion Rights Film Festival (supported by an SPSS Research Student-led Special Projects Grant). March 2020.
Co-organiser, Resist: Abortion Rights, Access and Justice Workshop. University of Edinburgh. 19th July 2019.
Co-organiser, Durham-Edinburgh Advanced Workshop for Anthropological Research on Health, Medicine, and Wellbeing. Durham University. 1-2nd April 2019.
Memberships and affiliations
Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology
Reproduction Edinburgh (RED) Network
Students of Medical Anthropology