When a person walks into a lawmaker’s office to hold a discussion for the betterment of the community, they do not expect to be questioned so disrespectfully over their agenda — but that’s precisely what happened to six teenagers who walked into a Washington lawmaker’s office on Monday.
The high school girls were visiting state lawmakers as part of Planned Parenthood’s annual Teen Lobbying Day to push for regulations to expand coverage for contraception and birth control.
Mary Dye, a Republican from Washington who listened to the teenagers make their case for a bill, not only told them that she did not support their cause but also asked them questions relating to abstinence and sexual responsibility.
She even quizzed the teens about their virginity and reportedly told one she could tell she wasn't a virgin.
“Following the conversation they initiated on birth control for teenagers, I talked about the empowerment of women and making good choices — opinions shaped by my mother and being a mother of three daughters,” Dye said in a statement after the meeting.
Rachel Todd, a Planned Parenthood worker who accompanied the teens stated: “I’ve never been in any type of meeting, especially with teens, where an adult, especially an adult legislator, was so incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate.”
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Dye later apologized for her rude questions stating, “In hindsight, a few of the thoughts I shared, while well-intended, may have come across as more motherly than what they would expect from their state representative. If anything I said offended them or made them feel uncomfortable, I apologize.”
But the representative’s comments reflect a much larger issue. While young men are not held to the same standards of chastity, girls and women around the world are often judged based on their sexual character. In a country where the average age of a woman who loses her virginity is 17.4, it is downright ridiculous to judge someone’s morals or deny them their basic rights — especially someone who is advocating for access to birth control — simply based on their sexual experience.
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