The city of San Francisco has launched the Abundant Birth Project, which aims to curb the high rates of Black women deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth by giving them monthly stipends worth $1,000.
The pilot program would reportedly provide $1,000 per month to about 150 low- and middle-income pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women throughout their pregnancy until at least 6 months after they have given birth.
The project, which is a brainchild of Dr. Zea Malawa of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, targets to ease the stress which is considered as one of the biggest factors negatively affecting pregnant women’s health, particularly Black women.
“We’re trying to address the racism directly and instead of trying to change Black women — because there isn’t anything wrong with them — we’re trying to change the environment so it doesn’t have to be so stressful,” Malawa told The Huffington Post.
According to studies, Black women are 3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than whites nationwide. In the city, Black families are also mostly low-income.
“For a very long time, Black mothers and other mothers of color have been in crisis, and this country has not done anything to support or help them from the manifestations of our racism,” Malawa said. “My goal is that, in the U.S, no matter your race, you can have a healthy pregnancy. That’s all I want. Unfortunately, that feels huge.”
The project has so far accumulated over $1 million in philanthropic funds and $200,000 from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. It will be used to distribute $1,000 each to around 150 participants over the next 2 years.
Moreover, the project will be tested if the monthly stipend could indirectly reduce maternal mortality, low birth weight, and premature babies. If found successful, the program could expand to other counties as well.