WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the President’s decision to slash funding for the United Nations Population Fund:

“The Trump Administration is making a grave error by defunding an initiative that does so much good. UNFPA facilitates safe childbirth, promotes maternal and reproductive health, works to end female genital mutilation and child marriage, and aids those who have faced gender-based violence. It is a lifeline for the world's most vulnerable women and girls, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. UNFPA works in more than 150 countries, including more than 100 countries where USAID doesn't operate a family-planning program.

“UNFPA has provided essential care in response to the Zika crisis, in the midst of Syria's war zones, and in countless other humanitarian emergencies. It has pushed back against coercive reproductive health policies, such as China's, and encouraged a voluntary and rights-based approach. The Fund is doing work that no other group is equipped to handle, and if we roll back our contributions, women and girls will suffer. Coupled with the reinstatement of the global gag rule, this action sends a dangerous message about the Trump Administration's policies toward women. Donald Trump should put the health and dignity of women ahead of political points and reverse this decision immediately.”