A Washington State lawmaker asked a group of high school teens if they were virgins on Jan. 18.
The students were visiting Republican State Rep. Mary Dye's office in Olympia, Washington, as part of Planned Parenthood’s annual Teen Lobbying Day, notes The Seattle Times.
The students were asking lawmakers to expand health insurance coverage for birth control, but Dye responded by asking them if they were virgins. She also reportedly suggested that one of the teens was not a virgin.
“After she made the statement about virginity, all of my teens looked at me,” Rachel Todd, a Planned Parenthood education specialist, told the newspaper. “And I said, ‘You don’t have to answer that. You don’t have to answer that.'"
“I’ve never been in any type of meeting, especially with teens,” Todd added. “Where an adult, especially an adult legislator, was so incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate.”
Dye released written a statement through her party, “Following a 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."
"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," she added. "If anything I said offended them or made them feel uncomfortable, I apologize.”
However, Alex Rubino, one of the students present, told The Seattle Times that Dye's advice was “unprompted,” and added, “It seemed kind of insane for her to say that, especially on the record, to constituents."