OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state lawmaker apologized after asking a group of teenagers about their virginity during a meeting.
Republican Rep. Mary Dye, of Pomeroy in rural southeastern Washington, posed the question on Monday while meeting with about six high school students from the Pullman-area teen council chapter of Planned Parenthood, The Seattle Times reported.
The students and a Planned Parenthood worker accompanying them said the lawmaker asked if the students were virgins — and suggested that one was not — after they lobbied for expanded insurance coverage of birth control.
In a written statement, Dye, 54, said she was talking about the empowerment of women and making good choices, but her comments “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,” she said.
The teens were visiting the Capitol as part of Planned Parenthood’s annual Teen Lobbying Day.
“After she made the statement about virginity, all of my teens looked at me,” said Rachel Todd, an education specialist for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. “And I said, ‘You don’t have to answer that. You don’t have to answer that.’”
Todd, 29, called it “incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate.”
“It seemed kind of insane for her to say that, especially on the record, to constituents,” said one of the students, Alex Rubino, 18.