This topic burns my britches. I'm very pro-breastfeeding. I think, barring any known medical contraindications, new mothers should at least give it their best try. Will it always work? No. And in those cases, the mother should be supported in seeking out alternatives. And yes, there are alternatives to formula. Wet nurses still exist and breast milk banks are available in some areas. If a mother wants to use those or formula, that's her call.
Even as pro-breastfeeding as I am, I still had to formula feed my middle child. I was put in a position where I had to choose between continuing to breastfeed him, or possibly lose the new baby I'd just become pregnant with. I have extremely high risk pregnancies. DS2 was barely 5 months old and DS3 was born at 24 weeks. Had I continued to nurse DS2, I may very well have lost the new baby, as one of my issues is pre-term labor and nursing a previous baby can increase pre-term contractions.
So, about two weeks after DS3 was born, I was out shopping with my older two. Of course I was an emotional mess. DS3 was still in NICU, barely hanging on to life. DS2 was 11 months old. At some point, he wanted a bottle and I gave him one. That's when the SS verbally attacked me and told me "it was obvious that I didn't love my child, since I'd never feed him that poison if I cared at all for him."
Um, yeah. You can imagine how well that went over.