Lori Freedman - "Bishops and Bodies" - Debra Stulberg

Thursday, December 7, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Lori Freedman

Lori Freedman will discuss Bishops and Bodies: Reproductive Care in American Catholic Hospitals. She will be joined in conversation by Debra Stulberg. 

Presented in partnership with Family Medicine at The University of Chicago

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op.


About the book: One out of every six patients in the United States is treated in a Catholic hospital that follows the policies of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These policies prohibit abortion, sterilization, contraception, some treatments for miscarriage and gender confirmation, and other reproductive care, undermining hard-won patients' rights to bodily autonomy and informed decision-making. Drawing on rich interviews with patients and providers, this book reveals both how the bishops' directives operate and how people inside Catholic hospitals navigate the resulting restrictions on medical practice. In doing so, Bishops and Bodies fleshes out a vivid picture of how The Church's stance on sex, reproduction, and "life" itself manifests in institutions that affect us all.

About the author: Lori Freedman is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. She conducts sociological and bioethical research with Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a program of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UCSF. Professor Freedman investigates the ways in which reproductive health care is shaped by our social structure and medical culture. Her book, Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care (2010), is a qualitative study of the challenges to integrating abortion into physician practice. Unexpected findings from those physician interviews led her to research and write about the intersection of religion and health care, especially in the case of Catholic hospitals, with an interest in how conscientious objection in medical practice operates at the institutional level. Through qualitative interviews with Catholic hospital physicians and patients as well as national surveys of American women, her newest book, Bishops and Bodies: Reproductive Care in American Catholic Hospitals (2023), lends insight into how institutional policies for reproductive care can be hidden from view, malleable, and/or obstructive to patient autonomy and wellbeing.

About the interlocutor: Debra Stulberg is a professor and department chair of family medicine at the University of Chicago.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
5751 S Woodlawn
Chicago, IL 60637