San Francisco experiment gives $1000 a month to pregnant women

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A pilot programme in San Francisco will give $1,000 a month to 150 pregnant women. The Abundant Birth Project will from this summer provide the funds to Black and Pacific Islander mothers during their pregnancies and the first six months of their children’s lives.

Similar programmes across the United States are cropping up to address systemic poverty, inequality, and racism by giving people money directly instead of reforming welfare programmes within the US’s fragmented social safety net.

Programmes like this have been devised in at least half a dozen cities as the once-fringe idea of Universal Basic Income is gaining speed and supporters after stimulus checks have been sent to Americans as part of Covid-relief legislation and after the push for the issue by the 2020 presidential campaign of entrepreneur Andrew Yang, now running for Mayor of New York City.

According to Pew Research, 54 per cent of American adults oppose universal basic income of $1000 per month for all adult citizens “whether or not they work”. 45 per cent are in favour.

The San Francisco programme will be the first to focus on the health outcomes of expecting mothers and their babies and how they’re affected by an infusion of cash to assist them. A 2019 programme in Stockton just to the east of San Francisco improved both the health and finances of some of the city’s poorest inhabitants, Time magazine writes.

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