Bishops to Investigate Girl Scouts’ Planned Parenthood Ties

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 10, 2012   |   4:36PM   |   Washington, DC

The nation’s Catholic bishops are coordinating an investigation of the Girl Scouts, following years of mounting evidence showing the youth organization having ties to the nation’s biggest abortion business, Planned Parenthood.

The ties between the two groups have been questioned ever since former Girl Scouts CEO Kathy Cloninger admitted on NBC’s The Today Show: “We partner with many organizations. We have relationships with…Planned Parenthood organizations across the country.” See the video here.

Then, in a national survey, seventeen Girl Scouts councils admit to partnering with Planned Parenthood; many other councils refuse to answer the survey question. Of the 315 Girl Scout councils in the U.S., 17 councils reported having a relationship with Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, and 49 reported they do not. The other 249 refused to disclose any relationship.

In 2010-2011 Girls Scouts in New York partnered with Planned Parenthood for a sex-ed program, “Real Life. Real Talk.” The program website touts their partners: “Real Life. Real Talk. is proud to count the following organizations, faith communities and companies as partners: …Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways.”

For fourteen year,s the Girls Scouts in Waco, TX co-sponsored a sex ed conference with Planned Parenthood. “It’s Perfectly Normal” a book written by a Planned Parenthood executive was  given to all children in attendance says abortion can be “a positive experience.” And in January 2012, Girl Scouts employee Renise Rodriguez wore a “Pray to End Abortion” t-shirt during off-duty visit to her Tucson Girl Scout office and was ordered to her to turn the shirt inside out or leave.

Now, the Associated Press indicates the bishops will conduct a new inquiry conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

It will look into the Scouts’ ”possible problematic relationships with other organizations” and various “problematic” program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops. The bishops’ conference provided a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, but otherwise declined comment.

Gladys Padro-Soler, the Girl Scouts’ director of inclusive membership strategies, denied any link to Planned Parenthood.

“It’s been hard to get the message out there as to what is true when distortions get repeated over and over,”she said.

Another Girl Scouts’ spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins, also denied the links.

“I know we’re a big part of the culture wars. People use our good name to advance their own agenda. “For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it. We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”

But Mary Rice Hasson, a visiting fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, said the investigation was needed.

“A collision course is probably a good description of where things are headed,” she said. “The leadership of the Girl Scouts is reflexively liberal. Their board is dominated by people whose views are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

With a sizable number of pro-life advocates distrusting the Girl Scouts because of the various links to Planned Parenthood over the years, any investigation that turns up more damning evidence could make it even more difficult for the Girl Scouts to become a trusted commodity in the minds of many Americans.