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Research profile

My PhD project with the working title Authorized Terminations: An Ethnography of Selective Abortion in Denmark explores how selective abortion, meaning the decision to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal defects late in pregnancy, comes into being through moral, medical and juridical practices, and its social effects. Due to the implementation of the 2004 national screening programme, offering all pregnant women, regardless of age and risk profile, two prenatal tests (a combined risk calculation for chromosomal disorders in 1st trimester and a malformation scan in the 2nd trimester) free of charge, Denmark has developed into the country in the world with one of the highest selective abortion rates, through which Denmark has gained its somewhat tainted reputation as a 'sorting society'. While many anthropological studies have explored the motivations for and implications of prenatal testing in reproductive decision-making, very few have explored what happens after testing? This project aims to generate knowledge about how some fetuses come to be regarded as unworthy of life and how death at the beginning of life is shaped at the nexus of biomedicine, law and sociality.   


The PhD is affiliated with the interdisciplinary research project TECHNODEATH. Death and Dying at the beginning of life, led by Stine Willum Adrian. TECHNODEATH aims to investigate the socio-technical shaping of death and dying at the beginning of life by combining ethnographic methodology with legal studies.

The research project is funded by The Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Supervisor: Stine Willum Adrian

Co-supervisor: Ayo Wahlberg

Education/Academic qualification

Medical Anthropology, Cand.scient.anth, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Denmark

Award Date: 31 Jan 2015


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