Advancing Equity in Maternal and Infant Health: Birth Justice Fund Update


Since its inception in 2011, Groundswell Fund’s Birth Justice Fund (BJF) has been dedicated to tackling disparities in pregnancy and birth outcomes affecting marginalized communities. By expanding access to midwifery, doula care, and training, BJF strives to empower women of color, low-income women, young women, transgender people, and gender-expansive people.

BJF addresses alarming rates of poor infant and maternal health outcomes in communities of color by mobilizing donors and supporting strategies to make midwifery, doula care, and training accessible.

In 2023, the Birth Justice Fund awarded $2 million in grants to 40 local and national organizations.

Doula care is a proven method of improving birth outcomes, and community-based models are especially effective at supporting better health outcomes, more positive birth experiences, and cost-effective care in communities of color and other marginalized communities. Ancient Song

Birth Justice is a Component of Reproductive Justice 

Black, Indigenous, transgender, and gender-expansive people have a long history of fighting for reproductive justice. While the term “reproductive justice (RJ)” was coined by Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice, which gathered in Chicago in June 1994, the framework is rooted in the history of the Combahee River Collective and Black feminism, going back to the 1970s.

RJ is a framework that combines social justice with reproductive health and the broader life issues people navigate. It is about centering the engagement and leadership of those who experience the greatest reproductive health disparities to reproductive freedom and acknowledging that those same people have the solutions.

In the United States, we spend more than any other nation in the Global North on childbirth, and we consistently have the worst birth outcomes—higher rates of injury and death for birthing parents and babies and a higher likelihood of health disparities, such as low birth weight.

Black and Indigenous women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, even though most pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable. There is virtually no research on the birthing outcomes of transgender and queer-identified parents and their babies. This is why birth justice is an integral component of reproductive justice.


Through Groundswell’s Birth Justice Fund, we continue making strides in addressing disparities in pregnancy and birth outcomes, particularly for marginalized communities. Through strategic partnerships, innovative pilot programs, and the tireless efforts of grantee partners like Ancient Song, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and Elephant Circle, we’re actively working towards equitable solutions in maternal and infant health.

Together, we’re building a future where every person, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, has the support and resources they need to thrive during pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond.