We discuss some of the issues emerging from a powerful legislative movement for preventive services over the past three years. During this time an increasing number of states passed, considered, or are currently developing breast cancer screening legislation. Most of these laws require some form of third party payment for mammography or establish breast cancer screening programs. The legislation varies markedly with regard to periodicity of examinations, ages covered, type and extent of third party coverage, dosage regulation, and radiographic equipment standards. This shows a need for common standards. Legislation provides an essential incentive for a public health response to a serious problem, but more than laws are needed. Health care providers and the general public need to be aware and take advantage of the coverage provided as a result of legislation. Moreover, public health officials need to be aware that such legislation may lead to a demand for services that exceeds present capacity to deliver them.