A Washington state lawmaker has apologized after asking a group of high-school students if they were virgins.
Republican state Rep. Mary Dye met Monday with approximately half a dozen Eastern Washington high-school students as part of Planned Parenthood’s annual Teen Lobbying Day, the Seattle Times reported.
The students were advocating for legislation that expanded insurance coverage for birth control. At the meeting, Dye asked if the students were virgins and suggested one of them was not, according to the students.
“After she made the statement about virginity, all of my teens looked at me,” Rachel Todd, an education specialist for Planned Parenthood who was accompanying the students, told The Times. “And I said, ‘You don’t have to answer that. You don’t have to answer that.’”
A Republican spokesman confirmed that Dye asked about virginity, and the lawmaker later apologized, saying while she appreciated their time, she told them she did not support their cause.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“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,” Dye said. “If anything I said offended them or made them feel uncomfortable, I apologize.”