‘Racism hurts your baby long before they’re born’: San Diego officials are slammed for spending taxpayer dollars on ‘divisive and misleading’ billboards
- Adverts claim racism is behind higher rates of miscarriages among black women
- Criticized by Carl DeMaio, chair of political action committee Reform California
- He said the billboards send a ‘dangerous message’ not supported by statistics
San Diego officials have been slammed for spending public money on ‘divisive and misleading’ billboards telling black mothers that racism could hurt their babies – before they’re even born.
The billboards argue that racial discrimination is behind higher rates of miscarriages and maternal deaths among black women.
They include claims that ‘Our black babies are nearly 60% more likely to be premature due to discrimination’ and ‘Racism hurts your baby long before they’re born’.
Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilmember and chairman of Reform California, a conservative political action committee, said the claims were not supported by data and could discourage women from seeking medical care.
The adverts argue that racial discrimination is behind higher rates of miscarriages and maternal deaths among black women. This one reads: ‘Racism hurts your baby long before they’re born’
‘The big lie is that somehow America is filled with racism – when in fact, America has made so much progress on that issue,’ he told Fox News. ‘It’s truly something to celebrate.’
He said the billboards send a ‘dangerous and divisive message,’ and should be taken down by the county’s health department.
‘I would presume that this will discourage African-Americans from trusting their doctors, trusting the health care system, because they’re being told that health care providers in their area are all racists.’
The billboards – which went up some time in the last two weeks – are part of San Diego’s Perinatal Equity Initiative, which falls under the California Department of Public Health.
The campaign was set up with funding approved by Governor Gavin Newsom to address disparities in the health outcomes of black babies and mothers.
Statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that black babies were more likely to be born prematurely between 2017 and 2019 – at a rate of 14% nationally and 12.2% in California, but provides no cause for that disparity.
White babies were born prematurely 9.2% of the time nationwide and 7.7% in California. The numbers for Hispanics are 9.8% and 9.1%.
‘It’s not supported by the data… it is a false narrative that is being disseminated with our tax dollars,’ DeMaio said.
The billboards in San Diego County were put up some time in the last two weeks, according to reports
The Perinatal Equity Initiative’s website says that the date comes from state and county health departments between 2016 and 2018, which showed that black babies were born prematurely 11.2% of the time, compared to 7.2% for white ones.
The campaign insists this disparity is due to race alone, while DeMaio – a former Republican San Diego City Council member turned radio host – believes that poverty and low incomes are the main reasons.
The American Academy of Family Physicians states on its website: ‘Poverty and low-income status are associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes, including shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, and higher death rates for the 14 leading causes of death.’
Meanwhile, a study carried out last year and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that disparities exist even between women of the same ‘high socioeconomic status’, but said more research was needed on why this was the case.
It is unclear how much the billboards cost taxpayers. Dailymail.com has contacted officials for comment.
Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilmember and chairman of Reform California , a conservative political action committee, said the claims were not supported by data and could discourage women from seeking medical care