April 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has cut off $32 million in funds for the U.N. Population Fund, an international agency that promotes family planning in more than 150 nations.
The State Department said in a statement Monday the agency "supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization" in China.
But the agency said it's an "erroneous claim."
"UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination," the UNFPA said in a statement issued Tuesday. "Indeed, United Nations member states have long described UNFPA's work in China as a force for good."
The State Department will withdraw the money from the 2017 budget and shift funds to similar programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Governments voluntarily fund UNFPA, and the United States was the fourth-largest donor overall behind Britain, the United Nations and Sweden. The $32 million was part of core funds with another $45 million in non-core funds from the United States.
The State Department didn't specify whether the United States would withdraw non-core funds.
Overall, the UNFPA received $979 million in 2015.
The UNFPA, in a release, said in 2016 it prevented 947,000 unintended pregnancies, helped 3 million couples prevent unwanted pregnancies, prevented 295 unsafe abortions, ensured 1,251 fistula surgeries and saved 2,340 women from dying during pregnancy and childbirth.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump reinstated a ban on U.S. funding of international organizations that provide abortion counseling.
The state department said it cut off the funding to UNFPA based on this executive order and the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which was first enacted in 1985. The amendment prohibits foreign aid to any organization that the administration determines is involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
"This determination was made based on the fact that China's family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, and UNFPA partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies," the state department said.
The United States was a founding member of UNFPA in 1969.
"We have always valued the United States as a trusted partner and leader in helping to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled," UNFPA said. "We, therefore, look forward to continuing our work with the United States to address these global concerns and to restore our strong partnership to save the lives of women and girls globally, within the framework of the global development goals, thereby leaving no one behind."