An international group of physicians condemned the Trump administration on Thursday for separating breastfeeding mothers from their babies, calling it a “human rights violation.”
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an international physicians organization, urged the government to immediately reunite infants with their mothers to end what could cause particular emotional and physical trauma to this demographic.
“Separating children from their parents results in toxic stress that impacts breastfeeding and health for a lifetime,” Dr. Timothy Tobolic, president of the academy, said in a statement. “Furthermore, separating a mother from her breastfeeding child violates the human rights of both mother and child.”
The Trump administration is now scrambling to figure out how it’s going to reunite the more than 2,300 children who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the president’s zero tolerance policy on immigration. It’s a situation that’s devolved into “total chaos,” said Carlos Garcia, an immigration attorney working on the issue.
The U.N. Human Rights Council says that infants in emergency settings, such as refugee camps, have the protected right to be breastfed. But there has been at least one reported case of a breastfeeding mother being forcibly separated from her baby. An undocumented immigrant from Honduras told CNN on June 14 that her daughter was taken from her while she was breastfeeding and awaiting prosecution for entering the country illegally. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman disputed the claim.
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