After the Eighth Project

After the Eighth: Abortion and the Politics of Reproduction in Post-Repeal Ireland

On 25th May 2018, Irish citizens voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment and replace it with more liberal legislation. National abortion services have now been in place since 2019.

In this research project, I seek to examine the extent to which, and ways in which, the legalisation of abortion has changed things (or not) for people in Ireland – both for those directly involved, and for women and society more widely.

I am particularly interested in the following questions:

  1. How has Ireland’s new abortion law been translated into services and practices on the ground?
  2. What social, cultural, and political roles does abortion play in the post-Repeal context?
  3. Have the tools and strategies of reproductive governance and resistance changed since liberalisation?

To answer these questions, I am conducting 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork using a mix of remote and in-person research methods. While I am based primarily in Galway, I am interested in speaking to people from all over Ireland, whether that’s elsewhere in the West or further afield. You can learn more about my research methods – and how you can participate in this project – by clicking here.

I hope that the project will produce insights that can be used to inform future reproductive policymaking, provision, and advocacy. Moreover, by using abortion as an analytical lens, I aim 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.

Further details

This research is being carried out as part of a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. It is supervised by Dr. Lucy Lowe and Dr. Jessica Cooper, and has received funding from the University of Edinburgh and Parkes Foundation. This project has successfully undergone ethical review by the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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