Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

Tuesday, 10 Jul, 2018

At the United Nations World Health Assembly this spring officials from the United States held up a resolution created to promote breastfeeding by attempting to remove specific language according to the New York Times. At first, the United States delegates attempted to simply dilute the pro-breastmilk message, voiding language that called for governments to "protect, promote, and support breastfeeding" and limit promotion of competing baby food products that experts warn can be harmful.

Donald Trump has weighed in on U.S. position on breastfeeding.

Earlier this year, countries sent diplomats to Geneva for a meeting of the World Health Organization, the UN-affiliated organization.

Trump wrote on Monday: "The US strongly supports breast feeding but we don't believe women should be denied access to formula".

The US delegation threatened retribution on trade and military aid to Ecuador to get the nation to drop the resolution, according to the Times, and said at least a dozen countries also avoided the resolution out of fear of the US.

Patti Rundall, policy director for Baby Milk Action, told the Times that "We were astonished, appalled and also saddened".

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told the Times the initial version of the resolution "placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition for their children". The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution. 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.

Rather than standing w/ science and the recommendations of pediatricians around the world, our govt. sold out to corporate interests and fought a WHO resolution promoting breastfeeding.

The State Department would not answer the Times' questions.

'We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons.

With more mothers in developed nations turning to breastfeeding, the Third World is regarded as a potential growth market for infant formula companies.

In the end, the US's effort to dash the World Health Organization resolution encouraging breastfeeding was largely unsuccessful. "These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatised for the ways in which they are able to do so".

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

News of the combative approach within the World Health Assembly mirrored the Trump administration's posture toward other key global bodies. 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 global compacts a hallmark of his approach, from trade agreements to military and security partnerships.

According to the report, the delegation fought against elements in the resolution that would have demanded member states "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" and restrict potentially unsafe infant foods.