Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump blasts 'failing NY Times' over report on 'opposition' to breastfeeding measure

Trump blasts 'failing NY Times' over report on 'opposition' to breastfeeding measure

The Times reported yesterday that the U.S.

But more than a dozen participants from several countries-most requesting anonymity out of fear of United States retaliation-told the Times that the American officials surprised health experts and fellow delegates alike by fiercely opposing the resolution.

"The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out", the president tweeted.

Mr. Trump said the country "strongly supports" breastfeeding, but the issue the USA representatives had was with denying access to formula. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty".

However, the US stopped short of going after Russian Federation, which in the end stepped in to introduce the resolution.

Media are reporting on how the US threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions if it did not back off a resolution meant to promote breastfeeding around the world at a Geneva convention this spring for the United Nations' World Health Assembly. But the USA reportedly threatened the country with punitive trade measures and a cut to military aid if it did not drop the proposal. 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".

"We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons", it added, saying they should have "full information about safe alternatives".

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. Ecuador quickly dropped its support for the resolution.

Ecuador, which was slated to introduce the resolution, was the first country targeted by American officials.

As part of global nutrition targets, countries who are part of the World Health Organization have vowed to increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life to at least 50 percent of mothers by 2025. According to the Times, the saga shows how the Trump administration backs corporations over the public good and how the Trump administration is disrupting the rules-based order.

The World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. Nevertheless, the U.S. 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. Breastfeeding rates vary by country, but two out of three infants worldwide are not breastfed for the recommended six months and this rate has not improved in several decades, according to a WHO, UNICEF and International Baby Food Action Network report from 2016. What is at stake: breastfeeding saves women and children's lives. Among the myriad issues discussed at these annual meetings are policies and initiatives related to infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and breast milk substitutes, topics that gained prominence in the Assembly in the 1980s.

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