To buy or not to buy? As Girl Scout cookie season comes around again, many pro-lifers are asking people to consider the ties between the girls group and the abortion industry before they place an order.
St. Louis Catholic Archbishop Robert J. Carlson is the latest to highlight the concern. In a letter this month, Carlson asked parishes to encourage their congregations to seek alternatives to the Girl Scouts because the group’s abortion connections go against Catholic teachings, according to California Catholic Daily.
“Girl Scouts is exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior and it is clear to me that as they move in the ways of the world it is becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values,” the Missouri archbishop wrote in a letter Thursday. “We must stop and ask ourselves — is Girl Scouts concerned with the total well-being of our young women? Does it do a good job forming the spiritual, emotional, and personal well-being of Catholic girls?”
Before buying Girl Scout cookies, the archdiocese said people should educate themselves about the connections between the group and abortion, then “act in accord with their conscience.”
“Organizations that [Girl Scouts USA] promotes and partners with are in conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, OxFam and more. This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for ‘reproductive rights’ (i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors),” Carlson wrote.
The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis did not go as far as banning Girl Scout troops and their activities from church properties, according to the report. Instead, Carlson asked pastors to meet with troop leaders to discuss concerns about the group’s ties to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, and “discuss alternative options for the formation of our girls.”
Although the Girl Scout organization maintains that it takes “no position” on the issue of abortion, parents, churches, and pro-life activists have long complained of the pro-abortion slant of the Girl Scouts’ resources, role models and affiliations. Christy Volanski, the mother of two former Girl Scouts, exposes the numerous ties between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood on her website Speak Now Girl Scouts.
Girl Scouts USA lists a number of pro-abortion advocates as “role models” for girls, including Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and feminists Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, according to Volanski’s research. And while the group does not recommend any pro-life groups as resources for girls, it does recommend several pro-abortion groups including Amnesty International, the Population Council and the ACLU, according to the research.
In 2013, Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) shared a recommendation for pro-abortion Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as a 2013 Woman of the Year via their official Twitter account. The organization also suggested pro-abortion former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a woman “with courage, confidence, and character.”
Meanwhile, the national spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts, Kelly Parisi, is the former spokeswoman for a pro-abortion organization — one founded by Gloria Steinem.
The Girl Scouts also have been criticized for their involvement in the May 2013 Women Deliver Conference, an international event that included “safe and legal abortion” among its overarching themes. It documents its role in the planning and facilitating of the December 2012 Bali Global Youth Forum and the outcome declaration, which demands youth access to abortion.
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.
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.