By now it should be obvious that the Trump administration is anything but “pro-life.” They drag their feet at every suggestion of policy changes that would actually decrease the number of abortions in the country — like comprehensive sex education in public schools and affordable healthcare.
But even critics would’ve had a rough time predicting the latest “pro-life” scandal. This one involves… breast milk.
When the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly met this spring, they discussed a resolution promoting breast milk as the healthiest option for babies. That’s based on decades of research, and the resolution was meant to steer countries away from “inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.”
It shouldn’t have been the least bit controversial.
… the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.
American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.
When the other members balked at that change, the U.S. delegation went after the representatives from Ecuador who planned on introducing the resolution.
The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.
So… the U.S. government threatened a nation over a simple resolution designed to keep babies healthy. Sounds about right coming from this administration.
While there’s no shame in mothers opting for formula if they are unable to breastfeed — or just prefer an alternative — the research has shown that breast milk has benefits that a store-bought product can’t provide. It transfers antibodies to babies that could protect them from viruses. Babies who breastfeed have lower rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The U.S. government even says “studies suggest that breastfeeding may reduce the risk for certain allergic diseases, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes” (though more research needs to be done).
The point is: A resolution declaring that breast milk is good shouldn’t be controversial for people who want to see healthy babies.
Leave it to the Trump administration to act like breasts are useless if they aren’t being used for male entertainment…
The actions by the U.S. delegation created a domino effect. Other nations backed off the resolution too, fearing that they would get mired in a trade war with the U.S. they couldn’t afford.
Fortunately for the world, our government’s efforts to prevent healthier babies were unsuccessful. While Ecuador didn’t propose the resolution as intended, another country did it without fear of any U.S. retaliation. Guess who?
It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them.
A Russian delegate said the decision to introduce the breast-feeding resolution was a matter of principle.
“We’re not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world,” said the delegate, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Russia: 1, America: 0. (Well, okay, Russia: 2.)
Time and time again, members of this Republican administration prove that their real priorities lie with their pocket books. They don’t give a damn about the real-world effects their actions have on everyone else’s lives. They’re proudly pro-life up until the moment a child is born, at which point they don’t care if it receives a poor substitute for breast milk or is stripped away from its parents.
It really doesn’t look good for Trump or his supporters when Russians end up being the pro-life heroes of this story.
(Image via Shutterstock)