Civil rights activists have filed a lawsuit against several taxpayer-funded benefit programs that favor certain races or gender identities. One of those programs is California’s Abundant Birth Project which provides a monthly stipend of $1,000 exclusively to black women during pregnancy and the initial six months post-birth. The initiative, started in June 2021, has reached nearly 150 women using funds from the California Department of Social Services and additional city funds.
As evident by the program’s description, the monthly stipend is only available to mothers with black skin, making the government-funded project blatantly discriminatory. While helping women choose life during pregnancy and caring for babies is an admirable initiative, racial discrimination is wrong no matter who benefits. Proponents of the program argue that black people “face the highest degrees of income disparities and racial inequity” and should therefore exclusively benefit from this program. But that isn’t how members of the American Civil Rights Project view the situation.
In collaboration with the Benbrook Law Group, they filed a complaint in San Francisco County Superior Court, representing plaintiffs Ruth Parker, Ellen Lee Zhou, and the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation. The defendants include the San Francisco Unified School District, Regents of the University of California, and State Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly. The lawsuit targets multiple discriminatory income programs, including the Abundant Birth Project, the Black Economic Equity Movement, and the Guaranteed Income for Transgender People program.
According to the complaint, the agencies are violating the constitutional principle of equal protection by “unlawfully choosing their beneficiaries based on race, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, and sexual orientation.” The complaint also argues that the program violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which states that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
In addition to requesting a court declaration that the expenditures are unlawful and an injunction to suspend the programs as long as they exhibit discriminatory practices, the plaintiffs are seeking a court order preventing the programs from utilizing any government funds to support or finance them. Additionally, they are seeking reimbursement for the expenses incurred in pursuing the litigation.
“Whether explicitly creating programs targeted toward racial or identity groups, or using intentional proxies, ‘no compelling interest supports these discriminatory giveaways,’ the complaint allege[s]. ‘Indeed, defendants do not even attempt to identify an interest recognized by the United States Supreme Court as compelling,’” reads the lawsuit.