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The mayor of San Francisco wants to help pregnant women with the financial burden of having and caring for an infant — but only certain pregnant women.
White, Asian, and Hispanic expectant mothers need not concern themselves with applying for help from the city’s new program: It’s only for black and Pacific Islander women.
What’s that now?
Mayor London Breed announced the city’s new Abundant Birth Project on Monday, the Miami Herald reported.
The public-private partnership will give $1,000 per month during a woman’s pregnancy and for the first six months after the baby is born.
But the city is limiting the monies to only 150 black and Pacific Islander women who, the city said, have been on the wrong side of a “longstanding racial gap in birthing outcomes,” the Herald said.
The mayor said hopes that so-called “basic income supplement” will be much bigger in the long term for the women who are able to secure it. She does not want them limited to just six months of post-birth help. The mayor has much more in mind: Two years of giving money to a group of moms selected by race.
Breed declared the program had “a goal of eventually providing a supplement for up to two years post-pregnancy.”
“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,” Breed said in a statement, the Herald reported.
Noting the health aspects touted by the mayor’s office, the paper reported:
Black women have the highest rate of preterm birth, which is when a baby is born too early — before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preterm babies have higher rates of disability and death.
Black women had a preterm birth rate of 14% in 2018, which is around 50% higher than white women, who had a rate of 9%, according to the CDC.
The infant mortality rate is also highest for Black women at 10.8 deaths for every 1,000 births in 2018, more than double the rate for white women at 4.6, the CDC said. Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women had the second-highest infant mortality rate at 9.4 deaths for every 1,000 births.
However, the mayor made it clear that health concerns were not the only reason for the program being available to only select races.
“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,” she said.