Mass Catholic Conference Alert on Abortion-Promoting Website

April 29, 2011

In follow-up of our post from Wednesday, “Mass Bishops, Catholic Conference Silent on Abortion-Promoting Site,” we are pleased to inform you that the Mass Catholic Conference has now commented on the controversy over the state-funded “Maria Talks” website that advises teenage girls how to get abortions.

Alert reader, “Mike,” forwarded us an email sent yesterday afternoon by Daniel Avila of the Mass Catholic Conference entitled, “MCC-Net Alert April 28, 2011 Legislators Oppose MariaTalks.com website–Action Needed.”  We understand Dan has announced he is leaving the Mass Catholic Conference shortly to take a job with the USCCB in Washington, so we hope MCC has someone lined up to perform this same function in the future.

We commend MCC for finally acting on this appalling situation and asking Catholics to contact the Governor’s office. All readers should call the Governor’s Office at 1-888-870-7770 and ask that the “Maria Talks” website be taken down and defunded.  Here is the MCC alert:

MCC-Net Alert

April 28, 2011

MariaTalks.com Update: Legislators Need to be Thanked for Taking Action and the Governor Needs to Hear from You

Sixty-three (63) state legislators signed onto a letter circulated among members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives that was sent to Governor Deval Patrick today urging his administration to defund and remove a sexually-explicit website targeting teenagers. Funded by your tax dollars and promoted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, MariaTalks.com tells unmarried minors that engaging in sex is good whenever it “feels right,” assures them that abortion access for teens is “easier than you think” and is “done all the time”, coaches minor girls on how to get abortions without telling their parents, and employs graphic sexual content marked by consistently crude and offensive terminology.

The letter emphasizes that the legislators opposing the website represent a bipartisan group with a spectrum of viewpoints—yet all who signed the letter agree that the website “crosses the line.” They write that in these economically difficult times “we find it disturbing that some must endure cuts to basic services in favor of funding a grant that is being used in such a controversial manner.”

Action on your part is critical.

First, please read the list below of legislators who signed onto this letter and then call your state representative during business hours as soon as possible. Your state representative can be reached by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000; ask to be forwarded to the appropriate office. If you do not know who your legislators are, go online to http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php and enter your home address to find out.

If your representative added his or her name to the letter, thank him or her for this courageous action when you contact the office. You should convey your message of gratitude to the staff if you cannot reach the legislators directly. The officials who signed the letter are standing strong in the face of tremendous pressure. This pressure is generated by the very same government-subsidized groups and their private allies that the website directs teenagers to contact for abortions, contraception or related support. These legislators need to know that they have your backing in their districts.

If your state representative’s name is not on the letter, ask if he or she opposes the website and whether they have taken any steps on their own in response. If he or she opposes the website, thank him or her and ask that he or she contact the Governor. Let those legislators who do not oppose the website know that you as a constituent object to this egregious misuse of your tax dollars. It should be noted that at least one Senator, Senator Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge), sent an individual letter to the Administration expressing opposition. The group letter sent to the Governor today focused on state representatives because the House was in session this week to debate the budget.

Second, call Governor Patrick’s office at 1-888-870-7770 and urge the Governor 1) to take down the website, 2) to order an investigation into how such a misuse of our tax dollars occurred, and 3) to report back to us the taxpayers with his findings. Our children deserve better from their state government. Forward this email to your friends and urge them to act as well.

Text of Letter and List of Legislators Who Signed On In Opposition to the Website

April 28, 2011

His Excellency Deval L. Patrick
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Patrick,

We are writing to you to ask for your assistance in addressing a matter of profound concern to us relative to the website http://www.mariatalks.com, which was highlighted in a recent Boston Herald story.

It is our understanding that the website was created and maintained by the AIDS Action Committee through an annual grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The website, targeted at teenagers, uses graphic and inappropriate language to describe various sexual activities. Further, the website describes abortion in an insensitive manner and advises how to circumvent parental notification requirements.

A review of the Facebook fan page for this website raises serious questions regarding the use of tax dollars to advocate for or against public policy. In a fiscal climate where the Executive Office of Health and Human Services has faced many cuts over the past few years, we find it disturbing that some must endure cuts to basic services in favor of funding a grant that is being used in such a controversial manner.

We would emphasize that this is not a debate over the pro-choice and pro-life position on the topic of abortion, as we represent a spectrum of viewpoints on that issue, but rather the necessity of funding this website in a time of scarce resources as well as the manner in which the website is constructed.

While we understand that teenagers may have questions about sexual education, we believe the Commonwealth should uphold a level of appropriateness in the way we interact with our youth. This website uses language that crosses the line.

As a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives, we strongly urge you to make immediate, substantive content changes to the website or to eliminate funding and assist in the removal of http://www.mariatalks.com from the internet.

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue in greater detail and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Signed April 28, 2011 Letter to Governor Opposing

MariaTalks.com Website

 

Signed April 28, 2011 Letter to Governor Opposing

MariaTalks.com Website

Title

First

Last

Party

Home City

Rep. Paul Adams

R

Andover
Rep. James Arciero

D

Westford
Rep. Brian M. Ashe

D

Longmeadow
Rep. Demetrius Atsalis

D

W. Hyannis
Rep. Bruce J. Ayers

D

Quincy
Rep. Jay Barrows

R

Mansfield
Rep. Carlo Basile

D

East Boston
Rep. Richard Bastien

R

Gardner
Rep. Matthew Beaton

R

Shrewsbury
Rep. Nicholas Boldyga

R

Southwick
Rep. Michael D. Brady

D

Brockton
Rep. Thomas Calter

D

Kingston
Rep. Nick Collins

D

South Boston
Rep. Edward Coppinger

D

West Roxbury
Rep. Geraldine Creedon

D

Brockton
Rep. Mark Cusack

D

Braintree
Rep. Linda Dean-Campbell

D

Methuen
Rep. Vinny M. deMacedo

R

Plymouth
Rep. Angelo D’Emilia

R

Bridgewater
Rep. Marcos Devers

D

Lawrence
Rep. Geoff Diehl

R

Whitman
Rep. Stephen DiNatale

D

Fitchburg
Rep. James J. Dwyer

D

Woburn
Rep. Ryan Fattman

R

Sutton
Rep. Kimberly Ferguson

R

Holden
Rep. John Fernandes

D

Milford
Rep. Michael Finn

D

West Springfield
Rep. John P. Fresolo

D

Worcester
Rep. Paul K. Frost

R

Auburn
Rep. Colleen M. Garry

D

Lowell
Rep. Susan W. Gifford

R

Wareham
Rep. Thomas A. Golden Jr.

D

Lowell
Rep. Sheila Harrington

R

Groton
Rep. Carlos Henriquez

D

Boston
Rep. Bradford R. Hill

R

Ipswich
Rep. Russell Holmes

D

Mattapan
Rep. Steven Howitt

R

Seekonk
Rep. Donald F. Humason

R

Westfield
Rep. Randy Hunt

R

East Sandwich
Rep. Bradley H. Jones

R

North Reading
Rep. Kevin Kuros

R

Uxbridge
Rep. Steven Levy

R

Marlborough
Rep. Marc Lombardo

R

Billerica
Rep. James Lyons, Jr.

R

Andover
Rep. James R. Miceli

D

Wilmington
Rep. David M. Nangle

D

Lowell
Rep. Harold P. Naughton Jr.

D

Clinton
Rep. Shaunna O’Connell

R

Taunton
Rep. George N. Peterson Jr.

R

Grafton
Rep. William J. Pignatelli

D

Lenox
Rep. Elizabeth A. Poirier

R

North Attleboro
Rep. Angelo Puppolo

D

Springfield
Rep. John H. Rogers

D

Norwood
Rep. Dennis Rosa

D

Leominster
Rep. George Ross

R

Attleboro
Rep. Angelo M. Scaccia

D

Boston
Rep. Todd M. Smola

R

Three Rivers
Rep. Joyce A. Spiliotis

D

Peabody
Rep. Walter F. Timilty

D

Milton
Rep. James E. Vallee

D

Franklin
Rep. David Vieira

R

E. Falmouth
Rep. Daniel K. Webster

R

Pembroke
Rep. Donald Wong

R

Saugus

#   #   #   #

Now a few final comments from BCI.  Please share this message with your friends and family members and ask them to also call the Governor’s office.

Additional note to MCC: Is there a reason why MCC was not present at the hearings for the Governor’s controversial nominee to the Supreme Judicial Court, Barbara A. Lenk, to offer testimony regarding the nomination or ask the judge questions? Here are a few articles that explain the controversy over her nomination.

SJC nominee’s record is hotly disputed at hearing

Lenk misses link to common sense

People are wondering why MCC was conspicuously absent, so we encourage MCC to make it a higher priority to participate in such hearings in the future.


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