San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Monday announced the launch of a new pilot program intended to help the city's neediest mothers -- Black and Pacific Islander women.
The Abundant Birth Project, hailed as the first program of its kind in the country, will provide income to some 150 Black and Pacific Islander women during pregnancy and after they give birth.
The income will come in the form of a monthly $1,000 supplement for up to two years post pregnancy, city officials said. The project, created through a partnership with the city's Department of Public Health, the Hellman Foundation, and the University of California at San Francisco, is part of an effort to decrease infant mortality citywide.
Black infants in San Francisco are nearly twice as likely to be born prematurely compared to white infants, while Pacific Islander infants have the second highest preterm birth rate, city officials said.
"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 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."
"San Francisco has seen lasting health disparities in the Black and Pacific Islander communities, which we cannot allow to continue," Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. "The Abundant Birth Project addresses those disparities in a positive and active way, to directly benefit expecting mothers and their babies in those communities."