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 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 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,

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