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Breastfeeding Brinksmanship

Global battle over breastfeeding erupts …

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A furor has erupted this week over efforts by the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump to discourage breastfeeding around the world (and especially in developing nations).

According to The New York Times, American diplomatic officials threatened to withdraw “crucial military aid” to the government of Ecuador if it introduced a pro-breastfeeding measure at a meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in May.  America also reportedly threatened to cut its $845 million annual taxpayer-funded appropriation to the WHO – which would have trimmed its budget by 15 percent.

Eventually, Russia wound up introducing the resolution – which called on governments around the world to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding.”

Driving the Trump administration’s hardline at the WHO?  Loyalty to the corporations which profit off of the sale of baby formula.

Apparently, a surge in breastfeeding in developed countries is cutting into their profits – and they are looking to make up that ground via sales in developing nations.

Where to start with this story …

First of all, U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing military aid in Ecuador (or any other country that isn’t named the United States of America).  Nor should they be subsidizing the WHO.   Our nation’s government is $21.2 trillion in debt, people.  We can’t afford to spend money on these things.

So … right out of the gate these are threats our government should have never been in a position to make.

As for the substance of the issue – to breastfeed or not to breastfeed – that’s obviously a deeply personal choice every mother has to make for herself.  We support breastfeeding for the very simple reason that it is clearly what is in the best interests of the child from a developmental standpoint.  But again … that choice is not up to us (or up to any government) to make.

Many mothers who decide not to breastfeed because it inconveniences their careers – or because they like the way their bodies look and don’t want to do anything that might detract from their idealized self – find themselves unfairly demonized as selfish or vain.

They’re not.

Those choices are not jeopardizing their children’s health in any way, shape or form … meaning these mothers have every right to make their decision about breastfeeding free from the judgement of others.

Also, some mothers simply cannot breastfeed … as much as they might want to.

Sure, in a perfect world every mother would eat healthy, balanced, organic diets … and pass along that goodness to their children via breastfeeding.  But we don’t live in a perfect world, we live in the real world.

And that’s not necessarily always a bad thing …

What is a bad thing?  Allowing powerful corporate interests to dictate government policy – especially a policy involving the well-being of children.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this “problem.”

First, our government should stop forcing taxpayers to subsidize foreign governments and globalist organizations like the WHO.  Without these chess pieces on the board, our diplomats cannot be compromised on issues like this in the future.

More fundamentally, though, government should stay out of the breastfeeding debate altogether … 

There is no compelling life or liberty argument here … just needless intervention in what amounts to a harmless personal preference.

Bottom line?  This is yet another issue in which government simply has no business inserting itself – especially in such a one-sided and transparently subservient way.

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