APA advocates for federal funding for women's health care, with a focus on preventing violence against women, improving mental health and ensuring reproductive health.
Women's health care
APA advocates to eliminate barriers to health and health care for all women. Research indicates that due to health inequities, women across various racial and ethnic groups, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women, women with disabilities and low-income women are bearing a disproportionate burden of disease; therefore, special attention is warranted for these populations.

Key Issues


Reproductive Health

APA has a long history of advocacy for women's reproductive health, in particular to support and encourage behavioral and social science research to address issues that are unique to women such as childbearing, menopause, infertility and gynecological cancers. In addition, APA supports freedom of reproductive choice as a child welfare and mental health issue.

Violence Against Women

Violence is a major cause of fear, distress, injury and even death for women, and crosses the lines of race, ethnicity, economic status, disability status and age. APA supports federal funding for research into the causes and prevention of gender-based violence and policies that support victim-centered services.

Mental Health

APA is working to improve the status, health and well-being of women by addressing issues such as gender disparities, domestic violence, disabilities, and the unique mental health concerns of women, such as postpartum depression.


Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression (PDF, 91KB)

Universal depression screening and funding for research into safe and effective treatments are needed.
Mental Health and Abortion

Mental Health and Abortion

Research review finds no evidence that a single abortion harms a woman’s mental health.
Criminal Justice System

Gender Responsive Justice (PDF, 907KB)

How are women and girls different, and what do they need?

Women, Violence and Trauma

Recent APA Advocacy Related to Women's Health

October 2016

APA Submits Comments in Support of Executive Branch Rule on Family Planning

In October 2016, the Public Interest Directorate submitted comments (PDF, 132KB) on a proposed rule on the Title X Family Planning program that would ensure continued access to family planning funds by clinics that focus on reproductive health. The proposed rule was drafted in response to states that have recently passed laws to restrict distribution of Title X funds to programs that do not focus on reproductive health care. APA supports the proposed rule as it ensures continued access to clinics that primarily serve low-income and low-access populations.  

September 2016

APA Applauds Act that Seeks to Restore Reproductive Health Coverage in Medicaid and Medicare

In September 2016, on the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, APA joined LGBT advocates in supporting the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act (H.R. 2972). Given high rates of poverty and disproportionate rates of sexual violence among some LGBT communities, access to affordable abortion coverage is essential. Introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-9), and Diana DeGette (D-CO-1), the EACH Woman Act restores abortion coverage to those enrolled in government health insurance plans (i.e., Medicaid, Medicare) or who receive health care from government providers and prohibits political interference with decisions by private insurers to offer coverage for abortion care.
February 2016

APA Continues Support of Title X Family Planning Program

APA joined with other national public health organizations in a February 16, 2017, letter (PDF, 115KB) to support the Title X Family Planning Program by opposing efforts in Congress to rescind an Obama administration rule regarding the program. The rule, which APA supports, ensures that qualified recipients of Title X funds are not subject to additional state-imposed requirements that limit their ability to fulfill the high-quality standards required by the Family Planning Program. It was formulated in response to actions taken by 13 states since 2011 that acted to restrict participation of certain types of providers as subrecipients of Title X funds. These restrictions make it difficult for family planning providers to access federal funding, resulting in a devastating loss of access to reproductive health care.

May 2016

APA Staff Moderate Panels on Pregnant Women and Mothers in the Criminal Justice System

APA staff moderated two panel discussions at the “Bridging the Gap between Corrections, Health Care, and Community Resources” conference, hosted on May 6, 2016, by the College of William and Mary's Healthy Beginnings Project. Amalia Corby-Edwards facilitated a panel on "Community Resources for Reentry," and Micah Haskell-Hoehl facilitated another on "The Use of Restraints with Incarcerated Pregnant Women." The conference brought together practitioners from corrections, community groups, other government agencies, mental and behavioral health professionals, students and researchers. 

This activity builds on APA's recent involvement in advocating for gender-responsive justice (PDF, 162KB) and ending the use of restraints on incarcerated adolescents and women during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery.

March 2016

Psychologists Take to the Hill to Support Gender-Responsive Justice

APA held an advocacy training and Capitol Hill day March 31, 2016, for Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology (LIWP) participants. Thirty psychologists advocated for inclusion of gender responsive policies in criminal justice and juvenile justice reform and provided congressional offices with APA's fact sheets on gender-responsive justice (PDF, 164KB) and the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women (PDF, 256KB). Participants discussed key areas in which Congress and the Obama administration can support the unique needs of women and girls in the justice system:

  • Provide equitable resources to female offenders: Women have unique needs, such as parenting programs, training and education.
  • Prioritize women's health care: Women need access to reproductive health care, including safe and supportive care throughout pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Provide gender-responsive, trauma-informed care: Correctional facilities must recognize the need for approaches tailored to the mental health needs of women and girls.
  • Ensure access to vocational programs: Women tend to have shorter sentences than men and are likely to return to the workforce more quickly. Vocational programs should be available equitably to both men and women.
December 2015

National Organizations Ask Feds to Address Use of Restraints on Incarcerated Pregnant Women and Adolescents

APA, in conjunction with five national partner organizations, released a statement calling on Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) (PDF, 367KB) to work with state and local governments to restrict the use of restraints on incarcerated women and girls during pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery. 

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have laws or regulations restricting the practice. However, these policies vary widely in their scope and comprehensiveness. Furthermore, unofficial and news reports in states even with strong restrictions in place indicate that the practice continues with regularity. This situation illustrates the need for a stronger federal role in curtailing the practice. The joint statement proposes three specific federal policies: 

  • Data collection by DOJ on pregnancy and the use of restraints in jails and prisons. There is an alarming dearth of information on women's health in America's correctional facilities, and it is critical to capture a more accurate baseline and collect information regularly, to guide reform efforts.
  • Training and technical assistance by DOJ, to ensure successful implementation of efforts at the state and local level to restrict the use of restraints.
  • Continued leadership by the Bureau of Prisons, which can build on its existing policy restricting the use of restraints by reporting on lessons learned and supporting DOJ's training and technical assistance. 

The joint statement also calls for standardized pregnancy care by qualified professionals, evidence-based and trauma-informed care and mental health services, and other gender-responsive correctional policies and practices.

June 2015

Coalition Opposes Proposed Cuts to Federal Family Planning Funds

APA joined more than 60 other national organizations in sending June 2015 letters to the appropriations committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to oppose the elimination of Title X Family Planning funding in the U.S. House fiscal year 2016 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations proposal. 

Title X provides funds for family planning and reproductive health services for nearly 4.6 million low-income men and women each year. In addition to providing cervical and breast cancer screening, centers supported by Title X help prevent pregnancies that would otherwise result in unintended births or abortions. Defunding this program would result in a devastating loss of access to reproductive health care for low-income individuals.

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Physical & Mental Health

APA is committed to achieving universal access to physical and mental health and substance use services. Health coverage is fundamental to reducing health disparities and promoting the just and equitable treatment of all segments of society.