Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood

There has been a recent upswing in the interest of a possible relationship between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood. Before this issue can be explored, we must understand the organizational structure of the Girl Scouts.

At the most basic level, we find the individual Girl Scout troop, each bearing a unique troop number. Each troop in our area is a member of Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM).

Each local troop is a member of it’s state organization. Each state organization is a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the national organization.

The national organization is a member of the international World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). WAGGGS is organized into five regions – Africa, Arab, Asia Pacific, Europe and Western Hemisphere.

Girl Scouts of the USA makes up about 1/3 of the total WAGGGS membership of its 10 million girl members worldwide. GSUSA provides some 1.5 million dollars annually to WAGGGS. The $15.00 annual membership fee paid by a girl in a local troop goes directly to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and does not stay with the local organization. Every Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization is a member of WAGGGS and each member organization pays dues, based on the size of its membership and the per capita income of the country in which the organization resides.

Claiming that there is an association, or relationship, or partnership of Girl Scouts with an organization like Planned Parenthood may not apply (except for some printed material – more on this below) at the local troop level, but becomes quite apparent when looking at the activities ongoing at higher levels.

In 2004, the CEO of GSUSA said on the Today program, “We have relationships with our church communities, with the YWCAs and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country.” As used her, the definition of “relationship” can be quite subjective.

On the local level, pamphlets, websites and workbooks from Planned Parenthood have been used as teaching tools, exposing Scouts to such things as graphic illustrations regarding sexual behavior (indicating that such behaviors are normal and acceptable); one website was called “Make Love Not Porn,” hosted by entrepreneur Cindy Gallop, and encouraging activities such as touring a local family planning organization and/or having a representative from that organization as a guest speaker to the troop.

Various state, local, and the national Girl Scout organizations have named such individuals as Gloria Steinem, Ann Richards, Wendy David, Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates, Sister Theresa Kane, Sarah Weddington, Dr. Ruth, Kathleen Sebelius, and a host of others, as Women of Distinction, holding them up as role models for leadership and advocacy, women of courage, confidence and vision for Girl Scouts.

Nowhere, in an extensive review of the literature, was a single pro-life woman or organization named as a role model or a “woman of distinction.” The one common element to all of the women listed above is that, without exception, the support and advocate for “reproductive rights.”

Moving from the national to the international level, the activity of WAGGGS is most disturbing. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) credits it’s close partnership with WAGGGS for it’s increasing success in reaching youth with the IPPF message of sexual and reproductive rights. WAGGGS is very active at international seminars, events and several conferences under the sponsorship of the United Nations. In every instance, at every conference or event, WAGGGS promotes free access to “reproductive rights” at any time.

WAGGGS was part of the December 2012 ICPD Global Youth Forum where WAGGGS delegates, young women all, were key players in the Bali Youth Forum Declaration which demands unrestricted access to abortion and comprehensive sexuality education “free of religious intolerance.”

In May of 2013, a WAGGGS youth delegation attended a conference hosted by Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization which promotes investment in comprehensive reproductive health, specifically abortion and contraception access by 2015.

Featured speakers at this conference were Leroy Carhart, Peter Singer and Cecile Richards. WAGGGS, in the name of its membership, served on the Youth Advisory Group for this conference along with the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Planned Parenthood Global. There are a multitude of other examples that could be cited.

Is this a case of guilt by association? Remember, GSUSA maintains that it does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood, stating that parents make all the decisions of program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. (This statement begs the question of whether or not such “sensitive programs” are actually offered but informed partents can “opt out”).

But traveling up the organizational structure, the link to WAGGGS agitating for “reproductive rights” at the UN enabled funding from the $15.00 dues paid by each scout cannot be denied.

Interestingly enough, when a recent boycott of Girl Scout Cookies was suggested by various pro-life groups, hoping to draw attention to this Planned Parenthood association, it apparently touched a nerve. LifeNews.com was threatened with a lawsuit by GSUSA – not for libel or slander for incorrectly or maliciously identifying a link between GSUSA and PP, but for using the copyrighted Girl Scout logo in their reporting of a Planned Parenthood/Girl Scout link.

Please note that the Girl Scout logo does not appear in this article.

– Diane Trombley, Media Relations Director – Right to Life – LIFESPAN