The Trump administration has forced the South American country to back down over its support for breastfeeding at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in May, The New York Times reports.
According to the Times report on Sunday based on interviews with dozens of meeting participants, United States negotiations in Geneva objected to the resolution encouraging breastfeeding around the world and allegedly resorted to intimidation tactics to bully other countries into dropping it.
The US directed its ire at Ecuador when the South American nation agreed to introduce the resolution. The resolution was expected to pass easily, but USA delegates aimed to remove language that encouraged countries to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" in an alleged alignment with baby formula manufacturers.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which tried to change the wording of the resolution, denies that it was involved in making threats against Ecuador. With more first world mothers opting for Mother Nature's way, most of the industry's modest growth comes from developing countries. The U.S. provides about 15 percent of WHO's budget, at $845 million.
The Times later quotes an official from the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who referred to America's action as "blackmail".
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News.
Moms Rising, a group trying to achieve economic security for mothers in the U.S., called the American government's move "stunning and shameful", adding that "We must do everything we can to advocate for public policies that support and empower breastfeeding moms".
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Every two years the World Health Assembly convenes and discusses public health issues.
Ecuador had planned to introduce the breast-feeding resolution, according to the Times. Jacobs said he had spoken with a dozen people from several countries who participated in the negotiations. Taking a break from being an all-purpose bogeyman, Russia, we're told, saved the day and the United States was thwarted.
A 2016 report in the medical journal The Lancet estimated that 823,000 child deaths around the world could be prevented each year through universal breastfeeding.
Abbott Laboratories, the Chicago-based company that is one of the biggest players in the US$70 billion baby food market, declined to comment.
According to the report, the delegation fought against elements in the resolution that would have demanded member states "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" and restrict potentially unsafe infant foods.
In a 2011 deposition, he became enraged when lawyer Elizabeth Beck asked for a break to pump breast milk for her infant daughter.
The United States suggested a shorter and more streamlined resolution that encouraged promoting exclusive breastfeeding as well as global initiatives to encourage breastfeeding in hospitals.