Women's Health

This category includes information on women’s health status, utilization of services, health insurance coverage, family planning and childbirth, and abortion statistics and policies. Also view State Profiles for Women’s Health, an interactive map and dashboard of the latest national and state-specific data on women’s health, including insurance and Medicaid coverage, poverty, mental health, HIV, cancer, pregnancy, abortions, and use of preventive services. Many indicators provide health care information for women of different racial and ethnic groups.

Please note, the majority of health coverage data posted to this site is now based on analysis of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). In the past, these data had used the Current Population Survey (CPS). We have replaced all previously-posted data, including data for prior years, with data based on ACS. ACS includes a 1% sample of the US population and allows for precise state-level estimates as well as longer trend analyses.

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Science-Based Health Policies Could Prevent Nearly 4M Maternal, Child Deaths In Africa, Report Says

Nearly 4 million deaths among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa could be prevented annually if relatively inexpensive, “science-based health policies” reached 90 percent of Africans, according to an African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) report (.pdf) published Monday, Nature News reports. The report, which is the initiative’s first policy paper, was released at the group’s fifth annual conference in Accra, Ghana, from Nov. 9-11.

WHO Report Calls For Improved Health Care For Women, Girls

A new WHO report, released Monday, said women tend to “receive poorer quality care throughout their lives, particularly as teenagers and elderly people” even though they live six to eight years longer than men, Reuters reports. The WHO said women worldwide are “‘denied a chance to develop their full human potential’ because many of their critical medical needs are ignored” (MacInnis, 11/9).

Rights Group Highlights Maternal Health Issues In India

“India is falling behind other countries in meeting international commitments to improve obstetric care because it does not adequately monitor deaths and injuries in the critical period following childbirth and fix gaps in its health system and programmes,” Human Rights Watch said Wednesday, the Hindu reports.

Opinions: Obstetric Fistula; Malaria And Climate Change

Fistula Hospital Plan Is A Great Investment For American Foreign Aid In a New York Times opinion piece, columnist Nicholas Kristof examines a new plan to tackle obstetric fistula, “a childbirth injury, often suffered by a teenager in Africa or Asia whose pelvis is not fully grown.” According to Kristof,…

More Than 150 Health Ministers Meet In Ethiopia To Discuss Maternal Mortality

At a U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, “[h]ealth ministers from around the world have agreed that swift action must be taken to reduce the number of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth,” the BBC reports. While there appeared to be some agreement “that family planning was the most cost-effective way of [tackling] the problem … no unanimous declaration was adopted at the Addis Ababa talks,” according to the news service (10/26).

Opinions: Africa Food Aid; International Violence Against Women Act; Brain Drain

Food Aid Won’t End African Problems While the drought and starvation in the Horn of Africa are “ghastly to be sure,” when “you see children on TV with distended bellies keening over their dying parents … do them a favour. Sit on your hands,” Sam Kiley, a former Africa bureau…

Congressional Hearing Addresses International Violence Against Women Act

VOA News reports on the recent appeals by human rights advocates for the U.S. Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, a bill that would fund “a five-year program to reduce violence in countries where the problem is most serious.” Former Democratic Senator Joe Biden, of Delaware, first introduced the legislation in 2007.