Offices of Womens Health State Laws

Laws and Initiatives on Women's Health

Updated May 2011Group of women

To promote the health of all women, some state legislatures are responding to the varied health needs of women through legislative action. One step states have taken to broadly address women's health issues is to create commissions, offices or taskforces or other initiatives that raise public awareness, establish funding and research priorities, and design certain programs to specifically address women's health.

At least 17 state legislatures have created or authorized an office or commission of women's health, including Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. Three states, including Florida, Illinois and Maine, have developed a designated state officer or coordinator for women's health issues and services through legislation. State initiatives on women's health can provide many different roles, including developing agendas on women's health issues, providing policy guidance to the governor, state legislature or the department of health; serving as a clearinghouse and resource for information on women's health for the public; and overseeing and identify funding sources for direct health care services.

First Letter of State A C D F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W



Summary of Statutes


Ala. Code § 22-12D-1 et seq. establishes an Office of Women's Health within the Alabama Department of Public Health. The law specifies the purpose of the Office of Women's Health; provides staffing for the office; and provides for an advisory committee for the office.



Cal. Health and Safety Code § 135, §137 and §138 (1994) establish the Office of Women's Health within the state department. The law establishes the purpose and functions of the Office of Women's Health. (1994 Cal. Stats., Chap. 760)

Cal. Health and Safety Code § 136 (1994) establishes the Interagency Task Force on Women's Health. The purpose of the taskforce is to collaborate with the Office of Women's Health to develop a coordinated state strategy for addressing the health related needs of women. (1994 Cal. Stats., Chap. 760)







Del. Code Ann. tit. 29 § 7905A (2001) creates an Office of Women's Health to address women's health issues across the lifespan. (SB 53)

District of Columbia




Fla. Stat. Ann. § 381.04015 creates an Officer of Women's Health Strategy position within the Department of Health.  Duties assigned to the Officer of Women's Health Strategy include organizing an interagency Committee on Women's Health, organizing statewide Women's Health Month activities, and developing a statewide women's health plan. 



Ga. Code § 31-2-4 creates the Office of Women's Health within the Department of Community Health to raise awareness of women's non-reproductive health issues.  The office will serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor, the General Assembly, the board, the department, and all other state agencies in matters relating to women's health.

Ga. Code § 31-6-20 establishes a newly reconstituted Health Strategies Council as an advisory council to the Department of Community Health, with one member representing the health care needs of women. This law also provides information about guidelines for membership and functions of the council. The function of the council is to review, comment on, and make recommendations to the Board of Community Health about components of the state health plan and administrative rules of the department. (Amended in 2008 by Ga. Laws, p. 392, SB 433)










Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 20 § 2310/2310-430 (1992) designates a staff member of the state Department of Public Health to handle, address and promote women's health issues not currently or adequately addressed by the department.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health was established in 1997. (It was not established through legislation).


Ind. Code § 16-19-13-1 et seq. (1999) creates an Office of Women's Health within the state Department of Health to educate and advocate for women's health. The Office also serves as a clearinghouse of information and resources related to women's health data, services and programs.  In addition, the Office shall develop and recommend funding and program activities for educating the public about women's health initiatives. The law provides that an annual report shall be submitted to the governor, the legislative council and the Indiana Commission for Women regarding the successes of the programs, priorities and services of the Office of Women's Health. Provisions in the law are also made for the appointment of staff and advisory committee members by the health commissioner.







Ky. Rev. Stat. § 194A.095 creates the Office of Women's Health in the Cabinet for Health Services. The office will serve as a repository for data and information affecting women's health and mental health, and analyze and communicate trends in women's health and mental health issues.  Amended in 2001 to rename the Office of Women's Health, the Office of Women's Physical and Mental Health. The 2001 amendment also attached the Office of Women's Physical and Mental Health to the Office of the Secretary within the Cabinet for Health Services.  Amended again in 2002 to permit the Office of Women's Physical and Mental Health to accept gifts, grants and bequests. (1998 Ky. Acts, Chap. 427, HB 864; 2001 Ky. Acts, Chap. 74, HB 124; 2002 Ky. Acts, Chap. 238, HB 327) 



La. Rev. Stat. 40 § 1300.241 et seq. (2004) creates the Women's Health Commission within the Department of Health and Hospitals.  Sets guidelines for appointment of member, officers, meetings, compensation, and domicile.  (2004 La. Acts, P.A. 644) Repealed by 2010 La. Acts, 743, effective July 1, 2010. (HB 1226)



2001 Me. Acts, Ch. 25 allocates funds to coordinate and improve access to health care for women by expanding maternal and child health programs. Also, directs the Department of Human Services, within Bureau of Health, to establish a coordinator for women's health services and build partnerships with community-based organizations, academic institutions and federal agencies.


2001 Md. Laws, Chap. 320 authorizes the creation of a state debt, the proceeds to be used as a grant to the Board of Directors of Mercy Medical Center for the planning, design, construction, and capital equipping of a new facility to be used as the Center for Women's Health and Medicine. (HB 1287)








Miss. Code Ann. § 43-59-1 et seq. establish a Commission on the Status of Women.  The Commission will include at least one health care professional knowledgeable in women's health issues.


Mo. Rev. Stat. § 192.965 and § 192.968 create the Office of Women's Health within the Department of Health and Senior Services.  The office serves as an information clearinghouse on women's health issues, provides policy analysis and recommendations and promotes coordination among health programs for women.  Establishes a committee to advise the Office of Women's Health by analyzing issues, as requested, and providing policy advice to the chief of the office on women's health.





Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71- 701 et seq. create the Women's Health Initiative in the Department of Health and Human Services. The mission of the initiative is to improve the health of the women of Nebraska through coordinating services, advocacy, education and policy development.  LB 84 (2009) eliminates the December 31, 2009 termination date for the Women's Health Initiative and the Initiative's Advisory Council.



New Hampshire


New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:1A-123 et seq. (2001) create the Office of Women's Health in the Department of Health and Senior Services. Some of the functions of the office include providing grants for research and evaluation projects to community-based organizations, serving as an information resource center, functioning as an advocate for the implementation of effective measures to improve women's health, and convening task forces on specific women's health issues.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-3-6.1 (2009) creates the Office of the Governor's Council on Women and assigns duties and membership for the council. The council is intended to serve as an educational and informational clearinghouse on women's health, to recommend performance measures and outcomes related to women's health and assist in developing policy related to women's health. Also requires the council to present the governor with an annual report on women's health policy issues.  (2009 N.M. Laws, Chap. 83, SB 210)

2010 House Memorial 35 requests the office of the governor's council on women's health to convene a task force to address various issues surrounding women’s health and economic security, including paid maternity leave, benefits for part-time employees and employment-based childcare. The memorial also directs the workforce solutions department to conduct another survey of employee benefits and to report the results of the survey to the task force by August 2010. The task force is required to report its findings and policy recommendations to the interim health and human services committee by November 1, 2010.

New York


North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-131.25 (1997) creates an Office of Women's Health within the Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources in order to expand the state's public health concerns and focus to include a comprehensive outlook on the overall health status of women. The goals of the office are to prevent disease and improve the quality of life for women over their entire lifespan. (1997 N.C. Sess. Laws, Chap. 172)

North Dakota




Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3701.141 et seq. (1993) creates the Office of Women's Health Initiatives within the Department of Health. The office identifies, reviews and assists the director in the coordination of programs and resources the department is committing to women's health concerns.  The program shall also advocate for women's health by requesting that the department conduct, sponsor, encourage or fund research. The office is required to submit biennial reports of recommended programs, projects and research that address critical issues in women's health to the director of health. (SB 131)








Puerto Rico


Rhode Island


R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-119-1 et seq. (1994) create a Rhode Island Commission on Women. The law directs the commission to study, make recommendations and promote constructive action on certain issues related to women, including health. The law requires the commission to make an annual report to the governor and the General Assembly.

South Carolina



South Dakota




Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-1-1801 et seq. establishes an Office of Women's Health and defines the office's responsibilities, duties and processes. The law also establishes an Advisory Committee on Women's Health whose members are to be appointed by the commissioner. Senate Bill 1033 (2009 Tenn. Pub. Acts, Chap. 63) extended the sunset of the Advisory Committee on Women's Health to June 30, 2015.



U.S. Virgin Islands









Va. Code § 32.1-19 (2007) requires the health commissioner to designate a senior official of the department to coordinate all women's health-related efforts to prevent, detect and treat diseases that affect women as well as the "Every Woman's Life" program.




West Virginia







Source: National Conference of State Legislatures and StateNet
Note: List may not be comprehensive, but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections.




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