Some Missouri parents are upset this week after their Catholic archbishop decided to stop supporting the Girl Scouts over its ties to abortion advocates.
On Monday, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Diocese of Kansas City announced his decision to ask pastors to begin transitioning away from parish Girl Scout troops and toward chartering American Heritage Girl troops. Ties to the Planned Parenthood abortion chain and other abortion advocates were some of the reasons Naumann gave for the change.
The Kansas City Star reports Girl Scout troops have been a traditional part of many Catholic churches for years, and some families are not happy with the change.
Maria Walters, a former Girl Scout leader in the diocese, has two daughters who attend Girl Scouts. She said her Catholic church has had a Girl Scout troop for more than two decades.
“This is frustrating; parents are very irritated,” Walters told the newspaper. “I feel we should all be together as one in the community. This does nothing but divide us. I don’t know why you would take an organization out of a school when it provides an option for girls to feel like they’re part of a group.”
Walters brought up a number of community projects that the troop has been involved with, including Children’s Mercy, animal shelters, battered women’s shelters, the Ronald McDonald House and the church itself.
Another parent, Jeffrey Benese, said the club has given his daughters excellent opportunities in life.
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A spokesperson for the dioceses told the news outlet that the reaction has been mostly positive, and close to 200 girls have signed up for American Heritage Girls, a pro-life organization.
Archbishop Naumann said his decision was not easy, but he said he was concerned about the Girl Scouts’ promotion of “troubling trends” in society, including abortion.
He said in a statement:
The national organization, for example, contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women.
Margret Sanger, Betsy Friedan and Gloria Steinem are frequently held up in materials as role models for young Scouts. These as well as many other “role models” in the GSUSA’s new manuals and web content not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe.
Although the Girl Scout organization maintains that it takes “no position” on 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.
In 2013, Girl Scouts USA shared a recommendation for abortion activist and former pro-abortion Texas legislator Wendy Davis as a 2013 Woman of the Year on their official Twitter account. The organization also suggested pro-abortion former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a woman “with courage, confidence, and character.”
Meanwhile, a national spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts, Kelly Parisi, is the former spokeswoman for a pro-abortion organization 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.” Watch the video here.