School of Social and Political Science

Ms Leah Eades

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PhD Student

leah loch

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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 has received funding from the University of Edinburgh (Alice Brown PhD Scholarship, 2018-24) and Parkes Foundation (PhD Grant, 2020).


MSc in Medical Anthropology, University College London, 2016-17

BA in English, University of Bristol, 2009-12


Council on Anthropology & Reproduction Graduate Student Paper Prize, 2019

Dean's List, University College London, 2017

Research interests

Research interests

Medical anthropology, politics of reproduction, gender, governance, medico-legal nexuses, social movements, structural violence, biopolitics, (de)medicalisation, anthropology of pharmaceuticals, moral agency, anthropology of rights, medical humanities

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