Trump Administration Opposes Major Breastfeeding Resolution

Ric Francis via ZUMA

Ric Francis via ZUMA

But U.S. officials tried to remove language from the resolution that called on governments to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding", according to reporter Andrew Jacobs. When that failed, they turned to threats.... They reportedly told Ecuador, who planned to introduce the resolution, that if it didn't drop the proposal, the USA would punish the nation with trade measures.

According to the Times, they also issued an ultimatum: If Ecuador didn't drop the resolution, Washington would withdraw military aid and issue punishing trade measures. At least a dozen countries in Africa and Latin America reportedly declined to support the measure over fears of retaliation.

"We were astonished, appalled, and also saddened", Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, told the Times.

What happened was tantamount to blackmail.

The president's tweet was a direct response to an article published by The New York Times on Sunday, titled "U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials." .

In the end, the Americans' efforts were mostly unsuccessful.

But the US reportedly did not object when Russian Federation stepped in to support the resolution, and it was approved.

The State Department would not answer the Times' questions. The Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in the effort to modify the resolution, explained the decision to contest the resolution's wording but said HHS was not involved in threatening Ecuador.

A Chinese mother breastfeeds her baby in Wuhan.

"We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so", a spokesman told The Times. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty". Their sales have increased, however, in developing countries. The U.S. also threatened the Assembly with cuts to funding for the World Health Organization.

During the discussions, USA delegates even threatened to cut aid to WHO.

But it's not the first time the Trump administration has gone head-to-head with WHO.

The United States pressured other countries to stop a resolution that promoted breastfeeding at the United Nations, according to the New York Times.

The United States tried to halt the resolution by pressuring Ecuador, which initially sponsored it, by dropping out.

Moms Rising, a group trying to achieve economic security for mothers in the United States, called the American government's move "stunning and shameful", adding that "We must do everything we can to advocate for public policies that support and empower breastfeeding moms".

Hundreds of government delegates had gathered at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva in May. The US said last month that it was leaving the UN Human Rights Council, citing anti-Israel bias, and President Donald Trump has made critiquing the status quo of major worldwide compacts a hallmark of his approach, from trade agreements to military and security partnerships.

World Health Organization has long supported breastfeeding, and years of research has found breast milk to be healthier than other substitutes.

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