Stulberg is a family physician and health services researcher with a clinical and research focus on improving reproductive health among low-income communities and women of color in the United States. Her research covers three specific topics: 1) the impact of religious healthcare institutions (such as Catholic hospitals) on reproductive health care; 2) the epidemiology and possible causes of racial and economic disparities in pregnancy complications (especially ectopic pregnancy); and 3) how to improve the provision of comprehensive reproductive health services in primary care, especially in community health centers. She is the president and a founding board member of the Midwest Access Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving reproductive health access by training frontline healthcare providers. She was previously on the board of Medical Students for Choice and have worked closely with other reproductive health and advocacy organizations including MergerWatch, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, and Provide. She also works with the ACLU of Illinois to assist with advocacy efforts locally and in the surrounding region. She has testified in the Illinois state legislature and served as an expert witness on challenges to two state laws restricting abortion access.
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Uses a nationally representative study of women of reproductive age to find that while 34.5% of women consider it important to know a hospital’s religious affiliation when seeking care, 80.7% consider it important to know a hospital’s religious restrictions on care. Additionally, a majority (two thirds) of women find religious restrictions on care during miscarriage management unacceptable.
Discusses how in this nationally representative survey of ob-gyns practicing in the United States, 52% of those who work in a Catholic facility report they have had conflict with their employer over its religious policies for patient care. This was significantly higher than at hospitals of any other religion (such as Protestant or Jewish hospitals).
Finds that among women in 14 states who receive Medicaid, those who have an ectopic pregnancy are significantly more likely to experience a serious short-term complication (such as blood transfusion, hysterectomy, sterilization, or prolonged hospitalization) if they are black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or Pacific Islander than if they are white.
Evaluates from a nationally representative survey of ob-gyns practicing in the United States and finds that while 97% encounter patients seeking abortion, only 14% provide abortion themselves. Finds that abortion provision is less common in the South (8.2%) and Midwest (8.8%) compared to the Northeast (25.5%) and West (19.3%) regions. Discusses how women ob-gyns and those working in an urban area are more likely to be abortion providers.
Finds that Ob-gyns working in Catholic hospitals who were interviewed for this paper report facing barriers to providing tubal ligations for patients who want them, even when the patient is having a c-section and wants a simultaneous tubal ligation (so that denying the procedure means requiring the patient to undergo a second surgery and anesthesia), or even when a future pregnancy would pose a serious health risk to the patient. Discusses how these barriers were reported by some physicians to pose additional hardship for patients with Medicaid or other financial or insurance barriers to care.
Evaluates in this nationally representative sample of primary care physicians practicing in the United States and finds that 43% had practiced in a religiously-affiliated hospital or practice, and of those, 19% had experienced conflict with the facility’s religious policies for patient care.