Earlier this week Bob Morris, a state representative from Indiana, fired off an open letter in which he called the Girl Scouts of the United States of America "a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood," and announced that he'd be pulling his daughters out of the organization, Jezebel reports. In it, he says:
After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing. The Girl Scouts of America and their worldwide partner, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood. You will not find evidence of this on the GSA/WAGGGS website — in fact, the websites of these two organizations explicitly deny funding Planned Parenthood ... Now that I am aware of the influence of Planned Parenthood within GSA and other surprisingly radical policies of GSA, my two daughters will instead become active in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers organization. In this traditional group they will learn about values and principles that will not confuse their conservative Hoosier upbringing.
First of all, so what if the Girl Scouts were associated with Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides much-needed health care to women? It's pretty sad that that's come to be seen by many as anything but a good thing. That aside, it seems the conservative lawmaker's "small amount of web-based research" was wrong. Victor Inzunza, director of corporate communications for Girl Scouts of the USA, made this statement in response to the Planned Parenthood concerns and to Morris' horror that they would admit transgender girls:
GSUSA does not take a position or develop materials on issues related to human sexuality, and we DO NOT have a national relationship with Planned Parenthood. Regarding [Morris's] comments about our inclusionary approach, we believe the diversity within Girl Scouts is what makes us great. When our founder Juliette Gordon Low assembled the first 18 Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia, the group included not just girls from that Southern town's prominent families, but also girls recruited from the orphan asylum and the local synagogue. During WWII, Girl Scouts served Japanese-American girls in internment camps, and in the 60s, Dr. Martin Luther King praised Girl Scouts as a force for desegregation. Girl Scouts has always blazed new trails with the purpose of making our world a better place to live.
We won't be holding our breath to see whether the references to inclusion of the poor and racial minorities do anything to change Morris' mind about the value of the organization as compared with the more "traditional" American Heritage Girls Little Flowers.
Read more at Jezebel.