BOSTON, May 10, 2011 ( – Taxpayers should not be expected to foot the bill for a website that misleads young teens with a whitewashed version of sexual licentiousness and abortion, the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts said late last month.


The Massachusetts Catholic Conference issued a statement in response to the furor over “Maria Talks,” a website aimed at young teens in which a cartoon mascot “Maria” guides readers through such topics as masturbation and oral sex technique, and instructs how to dodge parental notification law in order to obtain abortions. The site is partially funded with state taxpayer funds.

“This website employs demeaning and sexually explicit terminology, an approach that rightly deserves the criticism it is receiving,” wrote the bishops in a statement dated April 29.

“This tactic only succeeds in talking down to minors under the mistaken assumption that the young are incapable of responding positively to challenging and uplifting appeals to their better nature.”

The bishops, led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, faulted the site for promoting “an overall message that sexual conduct for unmarried minors is acceptable whenever it ‘feels right’” and touting getting an abortion as “easier than you think.” The site made no mention of the negative psychological consequences of abortion – despite pointing out the possible negative emotional consequences of both keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption.

“The state should work together with all sectors of the community, not just those with a vested interest in offering teens contraception and abortion, to find solutions that respect the dignity of young people and their capacity to make good and wholesome choices,” the bishops wrote.

On April 30, the Boston Herald reported that despite outrage over the site from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick refuses to defund the site, insisting with the Department of Public Health that the site’s content is “medically accurate.”

“The Department of Public Health has been clear that the information available on this Web site is medically accurate. It is our understanding that they have reached out to numerous legislators relative to their concerns, and will take their feedback into consideration and make improvements if necessary,” said Alex Goldstein, Patrick’s spokesman.