Profile picture for user freedman.lori

Lori Freedman

Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California-San Francisco
Chapter Member: Bay Area SSN
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Lori

About Lori

Freedman conducts research with Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a program of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UCSF. Dr. Freedman investigates the ways in which reproductive health care is shaped by our social structure and medical culture. Primarily a qualitative researcher, her work has focused on how institutional policies restrict abortion and other reproductive care, especially within Catholic hospitals.

In the News

Quoted by Amanda Marcotte in "GOP snowflakes: Trump administration wants to let doctors, nurses discriminate," Salon, January 18, 2018.
Quoted by Steven Ross Johnson in "As Catholic Systems Grow by Acquiring Other Hospitals, Abortions Plummet," Modern Healthcare, September 14, 2017.
Quoted by Meaghan Winter in "Why It’s So Hard to Run an Abortion Clinic – and Why So Many are Closing," Bloomberg Businessweek, February 24, 2016.
Quoted by Molly Redden in "Abortion Ban Linked to Dangerous Miscarriages at Catholic Hospital, Report Claims," The Guardian, February 18, 2016.
Research discussed by Rebecca Plevin, in "OB-GYNs Navigate Catholic Hospitals’ Ethics Rules," NPR's KPCC, February 9, 2016.
Research discussed by Eileen McNamara, in "A Crisis in Women’s Health: Abortion Clinics are Under Attack and the Medical Mainstream is to Blame," NPR's WBUR, December 4, 2015.
Quoted by George Lauer in "Reproductive Rights Battle Continues," California Healthline, September 8, 2015.
Quoted by Patricia Miller in "‘A Risk of Harm’: Catholic Hospitals’ Ban on Tube-Tying," The Atlantic, January 2, 2015.


"What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Patient and Provider Perspectives on Postpartum Contraceptive Care in Illinois Catholic Hospitals" (with Lori Freedman, Debra Stulberg, Zarina J. Wong, Lee Thompson, and Angel Boulware). Contraception 107 (2021): 62-67.

Examines hospital restrictions on postpartum contraception due to religious affiliation restrict access, cause unnecessary delays in care, and lead to misdiagnosis and marginalization of contraceptive care. Reviews that restrictions also cause moral distress to providers who balance career repercussions and professional integrity with patient needs.

"Beyond Hobby Lobby: Employer’s Responsibilities and Opportunities To Improve Network Access to Reproductive Healthcare for Employees" (with Debra Stulberg, Lori Freedman, Erin Wingo, Alexis Cacioppo, and Ashley McHugh). Contraception X 4 (2022).

Suggests large employers have leverage to improve access to reproductive health services and providers. Argues that large employers could pressure insurance carriers to address network gaps in access to care resulting from religious restrictions.

"Religious Hospital Policies on Reproductive Care: What Do Patients Want to Know?" (with Lori Freedman, Luciana Hebert, and Debra Stulberg). American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2017).

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.

"Conflicts in Care for Obstetric Complications in Catholic Hospitals" (with Debra Stulberg). American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research 4, no. 4 (2013): 1-10.

Qualitative research that follows up on a national survey that revealed that over half of obstetrician-gynecologists working in Catholic hospitals have conflicts with religious policies. Because the survey did not elucidate the nature of the conflicts, Freedman and Stulberg’s qualitative research examines the nature of physician conflicts with religious policies governing ob-gyn care. Results pertaining to restrictions on the management of obstetric complications are reported here.

"Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care" (Vanderbilt University Press, 2010).

Explores the social world where abortion politics and medicine collide. Discusses why physicians rarely integrate abortion into their medical practice. Demonstrates that willing physicians are further encumbered by a variety of barriers within their practice environments. Draws from forty in-depth interviews and presents a challenge to a commonly held assumption that physicians decide whether or not to provide abortion based on personal ideology. Examines physician narratives and how their choices around learning, doing, and even having abortions themselves disrupt the pro-choice/pro-life moral and political binary.