Pregnant Black, Pacific Islander women in San Francisco to receive $1,000 monthly supplement
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Approximately 150 pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women in San Francisco will receive a $1,000 monthly supplement during their pregnancies and for the first six months of their babies' lives, the city's mayor announced. 

Mayor London Breed's (D) office said on Monday that the Abundant Birth Project is the first of its kind in the country. The project's goal is to eventually provide a supplement for as long as 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. 

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“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,” she added.

Black infants are nearly twice as likely to be born prematurely than white infants in San Francisco. Pacific Islander infants have the second-highest preterm birth rate in the city, according to the mayor's office.

Black families also account for half of maternal deaths in the city and 15 percent of infant deaths, although they represent just 4 percent of all births.

The project has drawn funding from a slate of sources, including a grant from the Hellman Foundation, an award of $1.1 million from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s #startsmall campaign and $200,000 from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

“Structural racism, which has left Black and Pacific Islander communities particularly exposed to COVID-19, also threatens the lives of Black and PI mothers and babies." Zea Malawa of the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in Monday's statement. 

“Providing direct, unconditional cash aid is a restorative step that not only demonstrates trust in women to make the right choices for themselves and their families, but could also decrease the underlying stress of financial insecurity that may be contributing to the high rates of premature birth in these communities,” she said.

Breed's office noted that project organizers will “work with local prenatal care providers and the City’s own network of pregnancy support services” to identify eligible pregnant people over the next two years.

The project is in partnership with Expecting Justice, an initiative led by the San Francisco Department of Health and supported by the Hellman Foundation and the University of California San Francisco Preterm Birth Initiative. Expecting Justice will also study the health impacts of the program.