BOSTON, April 21, 2011 ( – The image of a hip young lady with a cell phone to her ear pops up on the screen, introducing herself to young viewers as “Maria.”


“Hey there! I’m 18 and I helped put together this site to help my friends learn about sexual health,” says the smiling mascot of, the teen-centered website produced by the AIDS Action Committee and funded by Massachusetts health officials. “Maria” then directs viewers to learn more information than they may have bargained for.

For example, viewers are guided through how to perform anal sex, how to manipulate an ejaculation to avoid pregnancy, and given extensive and explicit descriptions of various ways to attain sexual pleasure, with or without a ‘partner.’

But it’s the site’s answer to the question of what to do about pregnancy that especially has some local pro-lifers up in arms.

Under “parenting,” teens learn that “even finding time for yourself to simply chill” will become difficult if they choose to have a baby. “Seriously, as cute as those little babies are, they can be really stressful,” warns the mascot. Similarly, under “adoption,” she glumly notes, “From what I’ve heard, going through this process can be pretty tough for some people, especially emotionally.” The abortion section, however, lacks mention of any emotional or physical risks, and advises, “what’s important is how you feel about it.”

The site assures teens that it’s quick and easy to get a judicial bypass to circumvent the state’s parental notification law and get the procedure done. “Ok, I totally know that this information can sound pretty intimidating and overwhelming, but I promise you the reality of getting an abortion is much easier than it sounds here,” “Maria” confides.

The website links to Planned Parenthood’s site both directly and through other links, including one heavily pro-abortion site,, which the Massachusetts site offers as providing “accurate, non-biased information on pregnancy options.”

“The commonwealth is using taxpayer money to tell kids how to get a secret abortion, and that’s wrong,” Linda Thayer, the vice president for educational affairs of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, told the Boston Herald on Wednesday.  The MariaTalks site benefits from a $100,000 yearly grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that also covers other sex education efforts.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Executive Director Andrea Miller called the site “terrific.” State health officials have not yet commented on the site.

Extremely explicit “sex education” information is offered on the site as well, offering youngsters anatomy lessons for male and female genitals, and even explicit details of how to handle an ejaculation during oral sex. A section on abstinence notes that “it is not a realistic option for everyone,” and is grouped on the same page with sexual activities that avoid pregnancy.

Another mascot-driven website by state health officials in Pennsylvania recently evoked outrage by advertising free mail-order condoms for children as young as 11 years old. There, the African-American female cartoon mascot “Zelda” introduces a guide directing youngsters to the local Planned Parenthood affiliate and other sex education agencies.