Health and Science

US opposition to breastfeeding reportedly stuns world health officials

Key Points
  • Ecuador attempted to introduce a resolution to promote breastfeeding at the UN-affiliated World Health Assembly.
  • The U.S. delegation stunned officials by threatening trade action and aid removal if Ecuador didn't change wording.
  • Russia stepped in to sponsor the resolution, forcing Washington to back off.
US opposition to breastfeeding reportedly stuns world health officials
US opposition to breastfeeding stuns world health officials

The U.S. government reportedly threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions if it didn’t water down a resolution drafted to promote breastfeeding around the world.

The resolution had been expected to pass without issue at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in May, according to The New York Times. Then, without warning, the U.S. delegation requested that language asking governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” was removed.

After that request was refused, the U.S. delegation stated that if Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would enforce trade measures and withdraw military aid from the country, a move that reportedly shocked health officials.

The New York Times claimed that Washington’s actions showed that the U.S. government was acting on behalf of infant formula manufacturers who were reportedly in attendance at the event.

Ultimately, the Russian delegation stepped in to adopt and sponsor the measure, forcing the American representatives to back down.

Read the New York Times report on the breastfeeding resolution here.