Katie L Watson

  • 200 Citations
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Personal profile

Research Interests

Professor Katie Watson is a lawyer (New York U School of Law) who clerked in the federal judiciary and practiced public interest law before coming to Northwestern, and a bioethicist who completed fellowships in clinical medical ethics (University of Chicago Medical School MacLean Center) and medical humanities (Feinberg School of Medicine). She currently teaches law, ethics, and humanities to medical students and students in the NU masters program in bioethics and medical humanities. She has been a member of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee for over a decade, she recently finished a term on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities (ASBH), and she is a member of the Editorial Board of the AMA Journal of Ethics. Professor Watson is currently serving terms on the Board of the National Abortion Federation (NAF, the professional organization of independent abortion clinics) and on the National Medical Council of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In 2018 Watson published "Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law and Politics of Ordinary Abortion (Oxford University Press) which the New York Times called "revolutionary." Professor Watson also has a background in theater. She is a playwright and an adjunct faculty member at the training center of Chicago's Second City theatre. In 2002 she created a seminar in what she calls “medical improv” to improve doctor-patient communication, and in response to national recognition of her new training approach, in 2013 she began leading a yearly Train-the-Trainer workshop. She is the recipient of the medical school's Gender Equity Award, Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence, and Joost Award for Large Group lecturing.

Training Experience

1999Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Chicago
2001Postdoctoral Fellowship, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Education/Academic qualification

JD, New York University

… → 1992

Research interests

  • Medico-legal
  • Patient Communications
  • Performing Arts Medicine
  • Undergraduate Medical Education
  • Women's Health / Women's Reproductive Health

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Grants 2018 2021


Research Output 1999 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abortion as a moral good

Watson, K. L., Mar 23 2019, In : The Lancet. 393, 10177, p. 1196-1197 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

It is time to combat abortion stigma

Watson, K. L., Sep 1 2018, In : Nature human behaviour. 2, 9, p. 610-611 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Why we should stop using the term “elective abortion”

Watson, K., Dec 2018, In : AMA Journal of Ethics. 20, 12, p. E1175-E1180

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Delivery of Health Care
health care
5 Citations (Scopus)

Documenting moral agency: a qualitative analysis of abortion decision making for fetal indications

Gawron, L. M. & Watson, K., Feb 1 2017, In : Contraception. 95, 2, p. 175-180 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Principle-Based Ethics
Decision Making