Federal law often avoids setting minimum standards for women’s health and reproductive rights issues, leaving legislative and regulatory gaps for the states to fill as they see fit. This has mixed results. It can lead to state innovation that improves state-level health outcomes, informs federal health reform, and provides data on best practices for other states. On the other hand, some states may use the absence of a federal floor to impose draconian policies that pose risks to women’s and maternal health. Health reforms at the federal level must trod carefully to enable state innovation, while imposing foundational safeguards for promoting women’s health nationwide.