Publicly funded billboards were put up in San Diego warning expectant black mothers that they should be wary of health complications due to racism.
One advertisement reads:
Our Black babies are nearly 60% more likely to be premature due to discrimination.
Another one alleges:
Racism hurts your baby long before they’re born.
Critics say that the advertisements exaggerate the impact of racism in the healthcare system and that racial minorities could be discouraged from seeking medical assistance due to this messaging that encourages them not to trust their doctors.
A former Republican San Diego City Council member and the chairman of Reform California, a conservative political action committee, said the billboards should be taken down by the county's health department because they send a “dangerous and divisive message."
Carl DeMaio told Fox News:
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. How does that encourage people to use the health care system?
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that black babies are more likely to be born prematurely than white and Hispanic babies in California, according to the New York Post.
California Health and Human Services says that the state's infant mortality rate is lower than the national average but that black babies are dying at a rate that is twice that of other racial groups.
DeMaio said that the disparities are a result of class, not race, adding that the messages featured on the billboards showcase a "false narrative that is being disseminated with our tax dollars."
The American Academy of Family Physicians support this claim, saying on their website that "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."
However, a 2020 study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that disparities exist between women of the same "high socioeconomic status."
DeMaio said whoever approved of the billboards should be disciplined and that the advertisements should not rely on public funds.
There's nothing we can do to stop them from doing this in their political advocacy groups because it’s First Amendment issue, but we can damn well stop them from using our tax dollars to perpetuate the big lie.