Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Trump Administration’s Attempt To Amend WHA Resolution Supporting Breastfeeding

Houston Chronicle: Spoiled milk: Breastfeeding bullying undermines U.S. soft power
Editorial Board

“…Recently, U.S. delegates at the World Health Assembly threatened to unholster a veritable howitzer of soft power in opposition to a policy that wouldn’t seem to merit such aggression: We tried to block a resolution in support of breastfeeding. The position has infuriated public health advocates. Decades of research has found that mother’s milk is best for newborn babies. … So why did the United States oppose this resolution? Maybe it has something to do with the advocates for infant formula manufacturers who happened to attend the negotiations. Maybe the Trump administration simply wanted to target Obama-era support for WHO’s long-standing support of breastfeeding. … The United States has been entrusted with an unprecedented degree of international authority. … For decades, we’ve used our soft power to shepherd a vision built on free markets and free people. That influence, every drop of it, is kind of like breast milk: hard-earned, precious, and not to be squandered” (7/10).

WBUR: Breastfeeding May Be Good For Babies — But What About The $50B Infant Formula Market?
Steve Almond, author, Cognoscenti contributor, and co-host of the Dear Sugars podcast

“…[C]oddling corporations is virtually the only consistent motive to emerge amid the chaotic reign of Donald Trump. Every single decision made on his watch is intended to swell the swamp, to fortify and deepen covert dealings between big business and big government. It should come as no surprise that State Department officials attempted to bully smaller, economically vulnerable nations into killing the World Health Organization (WHO) resolution. This is how this administration operates. It’s why the Trump team also has been pushing to block soda taxes, and warning labels on junk food, and why they recently opposed a campaign by the WHO to expand access to lifesaving medications in poor countries. Whatever global goodwill the United States accrued over the past century, Trump is blowing through, at the behest of his corporate overlords…” (7/10).

New York Magazine: It’s Normal for the U.S. to Put Corporate Profits Above Babies’ Health
Eric Levitz, editor of the New York Magazine’s “Daily Intelligencer”

“…The United States is the ‘leader of the free world;’ we’re supposed to use our immense geopolitical power to advance the causes of freedom and democracy — not to strong-arm small countries into abetting unnecessary infant deaths for the sake of aiding a $50 billion industry. But what the U.S. is supposed to do and what it actually does are two very different things. And while the White House’s handling of the baby formula resolution violated American ideals, it was very much in keeping with our nation’s ‘norms.’ In truth, the United States has long used its diplomatic might to subordinate global public health to entrenched corporate interests. … Major corporations exert some influence over all aspects of U.S. politics, but they absolutely dominate on low-visibility issues — especially, on ones that pit their interests against those of poor people who do not live in the United States. … The Trump administration’s attack on breastfeeding isn’t outrageous because it broke with the long-standing norms of American politics, but rather, because it upheld them” (7/10).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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