Donald Trump defends US position against worldwide breastfeeding resolution

US turned to threats to fight breast-feeding resolution report

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President Donald Trump went after the New York Times today over a report on the United States' opposition to a U.N. resolution on breast-feeding.

While Ecuador had plans to introduce the initiative, the country later chose to drop it after the USA reportedly issued threats of economic retaliation. The United States and many countries around the world now abide by the International Code on Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, a health policy framework for promoting breastfeeding adopted in 1981.

At first, the USA delegation tried to just water down the language in the resolution, but when that didn't work, they began to threaten and bully countries who were supporting the resolution. However, the US was successful in removing language that said the World Health Organization would support countries trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children". "The U.S. strongly supports breastfeeding but we don't believe women should be denied access to formula", Trump posted on Twitter Monday afternoon.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which said it did not threaten Ecuador, defended its decision to push back against the resolution. With more first world mothers opting for Mother Nature's way, most of the industry's modest growth comes from developing countries. Starting infants out on a substitute in a maternity ward can make breastfeeding more hard for mothers later. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organisation, providing US$845 million, or roughly 15 per cent of its budget, last year.

The final resolution retained much of the original wording, despite American efforts. The editors then again accused the Trump administration of siding with "corporate interests".

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When the Trump administration failed to convince member states to water down the language about breastfeeding and formulas, it resorted to threats, according to The New York Times.

"The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding", HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement. The resolution, which was based on decades of scientific research, encouraged countries to limit false or deceptive advertising of breast milk substitutes, and called on governments to publicly support breastfeeding.

Every two years the World Health Assembly convenes and discusses public health issues. Jacobs said he had spoken with a dozen people from several countries who participated in the negotiations. Nevertheless, the USA delegation sought to wear down the other participants through procedural maneuvers in a series of meetings that stretched on for two days, an unexpectedly long period.

In a 2011 deposition, he became enraged when lawyer Elizabeth Beck asked for a break to pump breast milk for her infant daughter.

A 2016 Lancet study found that universal breastfeeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield US$300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk. So when USA representatives launched their surprise attack, the world could only read it as open support for the $70 billion formula industry, whose sales have been tapering off.

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