Faculty Scholars Program

Ronit Stahl, PhD, MA

Class of 2024
  • Associate Professor History
University of California, Berkeley
Scholar Project

Ronit Y. Stahl is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is also a faculty affiliate of the Religious Diversity cluster of the Othering and Belonging Institute, the Berkeley Center on the Study of Religion, and the Center for Research on Social Change. Her scholarly work examines how religious pluralism operates in, and shapes, institutions and engages vital current questions about ethics, conscience rights, and equitable access to health care. She is writing a book on how and why religious hospitals acquired corporate conscience rights, which brings together the perspectives of history, law, and religion to investigate the ethical challenges that emerge when institutional religious and corporate identities, rather than health care providers and patients, determine the provision and scope of care.  

Stahl is the author of the award-winning book Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America (Harvard University Press, 2017) and co-authored the historians’ amicus brief challenging the ban on transgender military personnel in 2018. 

Prior to her faculty position at UC Berkeley, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in advanced biomedical ethics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (2016-18) and served as a postdoctoral research associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis (2014-16).

For more information, visit: https://history.berkeley.edu/ronit-y-stahl

Troubling Conscience: Autonomy and Authority in Religious Hospitals

Grant Cycle: 2020 - 2021

Institutional conscience rights structure the relationship between hospitals, clinicians, and patients by limiting information, care, and referrals based on the authority of religious doctrine. Why, then, are private, religious hospitals eligible to partner with public entities and receive government funds while simultaneously invoking religious freedom to deny patients needed care? This project focuses on how religious hospitals crafted, acquired, and invoked institutional conscience rights to restrict and refuse care. From the perspective of bioethics: whose authority and autonomy matter in religious health care? How can tensions between bioethical values and religious values be resolved?


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