Religious healthcare systems and the impact on reproductive health service delivery in the Chicago metropolitan area
Abortion, Contraception
Awarded 2016
Interdisciplinary Innovation (Phase 1) Grants
Debra Stulberg, MD, MAPP
University of Chicago

We propose a partnership between the University of Chicago and the ACLU of Illinois to convene an interdisciplinary team on religious health systems in the Chicago metropolitan area. We will conduct background research and develop a subsequent project aimed at investigating the impact of religiously-affiliated hospital system policies on the provision of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care. Given the growth of Catholic-affiliated hospital systems in the US, policies that limit the care and information that clinicians can provide may have downstream effects on women’s and men’s SRH, including contraception, prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV, and care of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) patients. In Chicago, two of the three largest health systems are religious: Presence Health is Roman Catholic, and Advocate Health Care is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) and United Church of Christ (UCC). This may be particularly important as changes in Medicaid result in narrowed provider networks for enrollees. Through this formative project, our interdisciplinary team will leverage expertise in clinical, social science, legal, and policy research to address several Society of Family Planning research priorities. The project’s final product will be a research agenda outlining the aims and design of a subsequent study to examine the impact of religious affiliation on provision of SRH care in Chicago metropolitan area health systems.