Planned Parenthood, Girl Scout cookie monster
By Cathy Cleaver Ruse
Across the country, angry emails bombard official Girl Scout computers. In Northern Virginia, a Catholic church bans the Scouts from meeting on its property. An Idaho television station reports that a "rumor" about a Girl Scout-Planned Parenthood alliance is disrupting this year's cookie sales.
Emails and random churches are one thing, the bottomline is quite another.
The cookie sale is the Girl Scouts' largest fundraiser, bringing in close to a billion dollars annually. This year, some girls will come equipped with credit-card scanners to expedite the sale. But even high-tech toddlers won't make up for the loss if overall sales are down.
Girl Scout headquarters knows that Planned Parenthood scares parents - why else would it publish an official disclaimer? Its website claims that "Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood," and yet there is evidence everywhere that this is patently, even laughably, untrue.
For starters, it's impossible to explain away the admission on national television by Girl Scout CEO Kathy Cloninger that the organization has a relationship with Planned Parenthood, and indeed, no such attempt has been made. Her words stand today as the single most damning admission of the truth on the matter: "We partner with many organizations. We have relationships with ... Planned Parenthood organizations across the country."
Long-standing relationships, it turns out. For 14 years,the Girls Scouts of Waco, Texas, co-sponsored a sex-education conference with Planned Parenthood featuring a book written by a member of Planned Parenthood's Board of Advocates titled, "It's Perfectly Normal." This charming tome, given to Girl Scouts in attendance (some as young as 10), replete with graphic sketches of sex organs and techniques, tells kids that abortion can be a "positive experience."
If Girl Scout defenders call this old news, show them the current Planned Parenthood sex-ed program, "Real Life. Real Talk," where the Girl Scouts of NYPENN are listed as a valuable partner. (A screenshot of the page is saved at FRCBlog.com.)
A cottage industry of Girl Scouts watchdog groups has flourished online with names like Girl Scouts Why Not, 100 Questions For the Girl Scouts, Honest Girl Scouts, Speak NowGirl Scouts, and a Facebook page called Make-the-Girl-Scouts-Clean-Again. There are others.
Visit these sites to see Girl Scouts tax returns showing its annual million-dollar-plus contribution to the radical World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, an aggressively pro-abortion organization that openly partners with International Planned Parenthood Federation. (Incidentally, every little girl who signs up for the Girl Scouts is automatically made a member of this umbrella group.) See the biographies of speakers at the Girl Scouts' 2011 national convention and discover their positions with Planned Parenthood and their promotion of Planned Parenthood. Read experts from Girl Scouts literature encouraging girls to visit Planned Parenthood programs and websites.
What has Girl Scouts headquarters in highest dudgeon, however, is the revelation that their "girls only" meeting at the United Nations included a sex book by Planned Parenthood. The meeting occurred during the annual Commission on the Status of Women in 2010 and the book, "Healthy, Happy and Hot" had tips for kids such as this one: "Many people think sex is just about vaginal or anal intercourse. ... But, there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!"
Girl Scout officials deny they distributed it, but Sharon Slater, mother of seven and president of Family Watch International, insists it was there. She tried to attend the meeting but was ushered out. Ms. Slater waited outside the door, slipped back in when it was over, and picked up one of the booklets from a stack on a table.
The Girl Scouts deny they distributed the brochure, but are they playing word games? They also suggest another group could have left it in the room, but their meeting fell on the first day of the Commission, and earlier groups in the room addressed climate change and counterterrorism.
Girl Scout officials feigning shock that a nasty Planned Parenthood book was found in their meeting is like Captain Renault in "Casablanca" feigning shock that gambling is taking place. It just doesn't ring true. Planned Parenthood and Girl Scout executives are kindred spirits.
The Girl Scouts are trying to walk a fine line, really. Their challenge was well expressed by Idaho Girl Scouts CEO Shelli Rambo Roberson. After complaining the "rumor" was having an impact on cookie sales, she made a point of stressing that the Girl Scouts have nothing against Planned Parenthood - it's just that the two organizations are completely separate.
In the end, the Girl Scouts want to keep their reputation and Planned Parenthood, too. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation dropped Planned Parenthood and received 20,000 emails of support and congratulation from pro-lifers and a surge in donations. It also received a public thrashing by Planned Parenthood and its media allies more vicious than anything in recent memory.
The best evidence that the Girl Scouts have not actually severed ties with Planned Parenthood is that Planned Parenthood has not tried to destroy them.
Cathy Cleaver Ruse is senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council.
This article appeared in The Washington Times on February 6, 2012.