Last night, KRQE-TV and KOB-TV both reported about the firing of a contracted Department of Health employee for distributing a safe sex practices pamphlet that features cartoons of a male homosexual couple in Roswell. According to the reports, an internal investigation led to the employee's firing on Friday, just days after DOH ordered its clinics to pull all of its public information materials for review.
SFR reported on the order, which some critics deemed "micromanaging to the nth degree," in today's issue. Per the order, every public pamphlet and packet in all of DOH's 55 public clinics, plus its two satellite clinics, must have Health Secretary Catherine Torres' seal of approval on it. The problem, critics say, is the large burden the directive places on an underfunded agency, all to the cost of removing important health information to the many patients who rely on public health.
In multiple DOH e-mails to employees and in interviews with SFR, DOH officials cited "outdated materials"—not the same-sex safe practices pamphlet—as the reason behind pulling all informational materials. Critics (albeit anonymous ones) don't buy it, claiming the order was ideological.
In a post on NMDOHCrisis.com, a website presumably run by unsatisfied DOH employees, "Johnathan Publix" replays last week's events:
"It is difficult to ascertain whether the directive came from," Publix writes. "Some emails said Governor Susana Martinez made the mandate while others implied Cabinet Secretary Catherine Torres made the demand."
SFR retrieved both emails, which can be viewed at the bottom of today's story.
"What is not known by everyone, is buried in all of the recalled educational materials is safer sex materials that contain illustrations of a same sex couple that caused the removal of all materials. The hopes of the Torres administration is to cover-up the removal of these materials with a mass recall under the reason of a missing logo. So you might ask yourself, what do we have going on here? Well, we have the issues of censoring material and lying about the reasons to cover-up the fact that there is an ideological reason why materials are being recalled."
The public information materials, which likely number the thousands, are being sent to Secretary Catherine Torres' office to be reviewed by her staff with help from Public Health Division employees. SFR put in calls to DOH this morning about the pamphlet and will update this post when we hear back from them.
View the pamphlet here, retrieved from NMDOHCrisis.com (or refrain from viewing if homosexual cartoons offend you):