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Miss Zoe Tongue

PhD candidate

LLB (Hons), LLM

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PhD candidate in Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)  


Zoe is a PhD candidate and a part-time tutor at Durham Law School. She completed her undergraduate degree in Law at Durham University with a year abroad spent at the University of Western Australia, and graduated with First Class Honours. While studying for the Advanced Legal Studies LLM at the University of Warwick, she was awarded the Kapila and Nirmal Hingorani Foundation internship which funded a three-week trip to New Delhi to undertake work relevant to her dissertation research on reproductive rights and Public Interest Litigation. She started her PhD in October 2019 with a Durham Law School Studentship. Zoe teaches on the modules The Individual & The State and Law and Medicine, and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current Research

Supervised by Professor Shaun Pattinson and Dr Anashri Pillay, her PhD research is exploring the possibility of recognising a human right to abortion. This project will use Alan Gewirth’s Principle of Generic Consistency as the basis of a moral right to abortion, combining this theory with feminist critiques of the claimed universality of the international human rights framework and considerations of the impacts of restrictive abortion laws to justify the recognition of such a right.


Book review

Conference Paper

  • Tongue, Zoe (2021), Towards a Feminist Transformation of Human Rights, FRI Gender Law Conference on Women's* Suffrage and Democracy: Mechanisms of (In)Justice. Fribourg, Switzerland.
  • Tongue, Zoe (2021), Framing Abortion as a Public Health Issue in the International Human Rights Framework: Limiting Progress?, British Society of Population Studies Annual Conference. Online.
  • Tongue, Zoe (2021), Securing Abortion Rights Through Feminist Activism, EnGender! Annual Conference. Online.
  • Tongue, Zoe (2020), Litigating Reproductive Rights: Public Interest Litigation and Securing Maternal Healthcare and Abortion Access in India, 12th Annual Trinity College Dublin Law School Colloquium. Trinity College Dublin.
  • Tongue, Zoe (2020), Recognising a Human Right to Abortion: A Reproductive Justice Approach, Ustinov College Annual Conference on Global Health and Human Rights. Durham University.
  • Tongue, Zoe (2019), Human Rights and Abortion Law Reform in Northern Ireland, Postgraduate Conference on Law and Social Transformation. Lancaster Law School.

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Tongue, Zoe (2021). Symphysiotomies as Obstetric Violence in the International Human Rights Framework (Durham CELLS Obstetric Violence Blog).
  • Tongue, Zoe (2020). The Impacts of COVID-19 on Access to Abortion (OxHRH).
  • Tongue, Zoe (2020). A European Gilead: Using the Courts to Curb Abortion Rights in Poland (Durham CELLS Blog).