Starting in 2021, the City of San Francisco will assist 150 Black and Pacific Islander women with a $1,000 monthly stipend in efforts to combat wealth and prenatal racial inequalities. The Abundant Birth Project was announced by Mayor London Breed in a press conference last week to provide “basic income to women during pregnancy and after giving birth”
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The city found that African-American and Pacific Islander women were the most affected with having premature births and wanted to assist these mothers with their pregnancy and at least the first six months after birth.
“Providing guaranteed income support to mothers during pregnancy is an innovative and equitable approach that will ease some of the financial stress that all too often keeps women from being able to put their health first,” said Mayor Breed in a press release. “The Abundant Birth Project is rooted in racial justice and recognizes that Black and Pacific Islander mothers suffer disparate health impacts, in part because of the persistent wealth and income gap. Thanks to the work of the many partners involved, we are taking real action to end these disparities and are empowering mothers with the resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and births.”
Expecting Justice focuses on antiracism efforts and noticed a wealth gap between the households.
CNN reported that according to the mayor’s office “the median annual household income for Black and Pacific Islander families in San Francisco is close to $30,000 and $67,000 respectively, compared with about $104,000 citywide.” This gap has led to many problems including unequal prenatal care not only in San Francisco but across the country.
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“It is exciting to be in a city that not only calls out racism as a problem but also takes steps to heal the wounds left by decades of injustice and anti-Black sentiment,” said pediatrician and public health expert Dr. Zea Malawa of Expecting Justice.
Mothers are able to use the funds as they choose and can decide to use it for their households or the health of their babies to relieve stress during the pregnancy.
“Maybe you’re struggling with food insecurity this month,” Malawa said. “Or maybe you need to pay your car note. That should be the mothers’ decision to make.”
According to the press release, The Abundant Birth Project’s goal is to offer stipends for Black and Pacific Islander women for two years after having their children. The initiative is being funded by the San Fransisco Health Department, the Hellman Foundation, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
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