Lori Freedman, PhD, MA

Assistant Professor

Email: freedmanl@obgyn.ucsf.edu


For the past decade, Lori Freedman, PhD, Medical Sociologist, has researched the ways in which reproductive health care is shaped by our social structure and medical culture. Her recent book, Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care, is based upon 40 in-depth physician interviews and examines how abortion politics affect medical practice, focusing on the challenges to integrating abortion into physician practice. Unexpected findings from the interviews led her to research and write about the intersection of religion and health care, especially in the case of Catholic-owned hospitals. This research experience has spawned her interest in how physician employers use conscience clauses in medical practice at individual and institutional levels. Dr. Freedman’s interest in reproductive health care research was born at San Francisco General Hospital (1998) when she worked as a research assistant for several contraception-related studies. Dr. Freedman is currently working on two studies: The first focused on the bedside bioethics of religiously affiliated health care institutions and their employees and a second focused on the experiences of newly abortion trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants. Dr. Freedman received her BA at the University of Oregon and her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Davis.

Areas of Interest:

    • Qualitative health research
    • Clinician training and practice 
    • Medical ethics in reproductive health 
    • Religiously-affiliated health care institutional practices

For a complete list of publications, please click here: Publications on PubMed

Updated March 2013


  • Kerns J, Vanjani R, Freedman L, Meckstroth K, Drey EA, Steinauer J. Women's decision making regarding choice of second trimester termination method for pregnancy complications. International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012:116(3):244-8.
  • Morse J, Freedman L, Speidel JJ, Thompson KM, Stratton L, Harper CC. Postabortion contraception: qualitative interviews on counseling and provision of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2012:44(2):100-6.
  • O'Donnell J, Weitz TA, Freedman LR. Resistance and vulnerability to stigmatization in abortion work. Social Science and Medicine. 2011:73(9):1357-64.
  • Freedman L, Landy U, Darney P, Steinauer J. Obstacles to the integration of abortion into obstetrics and gynecology practice. Perspectives on Sexual and Reprodroductive Health. 2010:42(3):146-51.
  • Wallace RR, Goodman S, Freedman LR, Dalton VK, Harris LH. Counseling women with early pregnancy failure: Utilizing evidence, preserving preference. Patient Education and Counseling. 2010:81(3):454-61.
  • Freedman LR, Landy U, Steinauer J. When there's a heartbeat: miscarriage management in Catholic-owned hospitals. American Journal of Public Health. 2008:98(10):1774-8.