Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Donald Trump defends US position against worldwide breastfeeding resolution

Donald Trump defends US position against worldwide breastfeeding resolution

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions.

Ecuador's support for an global resolution backing breastfeeding has triggered USA threats of punitive trade measures and the axing of military aid.

The US threatened Ecuador and other countries of withdrawing military support and trade retaliation so they would pull sponsorship.

An Ecuadorian official said that his government did not anticipate the harshness of America's response.

Ecuador was set to introduce a resolution based on that research, but as more than a dozen worldwide representatives confirmed to the Times, American delegates threatened the smaller nation with cuts to military aid and reduced trade deals if they went forward with the proposal. It was only when Russian Federation introduced the resolution that American officials backed off.

You have to give them credit: big business gets what they pay for when they buy a Republican administration.

'We were astonished, appalled and also saddened, ' said Patti Rundall, policy director of Baby Milk Action, a pro-breastfeeding advocacy group.

In an email to the Times, the Department of Health and Human Services, which led the charge to make the modifications, said the original resolution "placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children".

The World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva.

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'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'.

The State Department would not answer the Times' questions. What is at stake: breastfeeding saves women and children's lives.

The United States tried to halt the resolution by pressuring Ecuador, which initially sponsored it, by dropping out. "At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?" Trump said of his decision to withdraw from the agreement.

The resolution ultimately passed in a compromised form, removing language that called on the World Health Organization to support countries trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

The United States also insisted that the words "evidence-based" accompany references to long-established initiatives that promote breastfeeding, which critics described as a ploy that could be used to undermine programs that provide parents with feeding advice and support.

The Trump administration shocked global health officials when it pushed back on decades of scientific research that recognized breast milk as the healthiest option for babies. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.

The move reflected the United States government's championing of the $US70 billion ($94 billion) baby formula industry - mainly based in the USA and Europe.

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