Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with 20 Democratic colleagues, sent a letter July 19 to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding an explanation of the Donald Trump administration’s decision to ignore the evidence and scientific consensus on the merits of breastfeeding and oppose a World Health Assembly resolution to encourage breastfeeding and limit misleading advertising tactics by formula manufacturers.

The senators asked that the department explain their official position on breastfeeding, the scientific basis for the administration’s decision to change course from the U.S.’s past support for breastfeeding and the department’s involvement in that decision.

“The U.S. has consistently and repeatedly joined efforts to encourage breastfeeding. It is therefore confounding that the administration used this global forum to back away from the U.S.’ previous support for breastfeeding, and such a change in position raises serious questions as to the rationale for this approach. Efforts to, as news reports allege, upend the breastfeeding resolution to protect the interests of infant formula manufacturers in turn fail to help provide women with the information they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families. The U.S. should be advocating for policies that help improve maternal and child health both domestically and internationally, including as a way to address health disparities,” the senators wrote.

Full text of the letter is available at