Friday, December 1, 2017

Newly launched project advances health for mothers and babies of color

"What would it look like opening a birthing center in the hood?" That question sent Cessilye Smith of Dallas, Texas on a journey.

Cessilye is a pro-life feminist, racial justice educator, and doula—on top of just being an all-around rad woman. (Disclosure: she's also a friend of mine, obviously.) She is incredibly knowledgeable about the past and present of racism, the devastation abortion has inflicted on the black community, and low-income mothers' needs. I cannot think of a better person to open a birthing center in the hood.

I am so excited to share that Cessilye has teamed up with fellow Texas activist Bethany Stricker to launch Abide Women's Health Services!

If you were at the Life/Peace/Justice conference in October, you may have heard Cessilye speak about the crisis facing black mothers and babies. On nearly every maternal, fetal, and infant health measure, people of color fare orders of magnitude worse than the general population. And Abide plans to open its first location in a segregated, under-served neighborhood of south Dallas where the statistics are staggering: it has the highest rates of teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, infant mortality, and small-for-gestational-age births in the county.

Abide aims to break down the barriers keeping low-income mothers and babies from quality prenatal and birthing care. Not only that, Abide will help like-minded aspiring midwives, doulas, and other birth workers overcome obstacles to training and certification.

In their own words:
Abide Women's Health Services is dedicated to improving outcomes in maternal and child health by providing education and care that is easily accessible, culturally competent, and woman-centered within our diverse and under-served communities. This includes comprehensive prenatal, labor, delivery, and postpartum care, as well as women’s health services. Understanding that poor outcomes are related to quality health care worker shortages, Abide prioritizes offering excellent, relevant accessible training for aspiring doulas, birth assistants, midwives, and childbirth educators.
This project has so much life-saving potential, and Abide is counting on the pro-life community's support. Monetary donations are always welcome, but for this phase, Abide especially needs in-kind contributions: web design services, logo design services, volunteer consultants, and help creating educational materials. If any of that sounds like your wheelhouse, please email

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