Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lawmaker Ridiculed for Concerns Over Girl Scout/Planned Parenthood Connection

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An Indiana state legislator is facing ridicule for his refusal to sign on to a resolution honoring the Girls Scouts on its 100th anniversary, citing the organization’s promotion of abortion, homosexuality, and a liberal agenda destructive of traditional family values.

In a letter to his Republican colleagues at the Indiana statehouse, State Representative Bob Morris explained that after being tipped about the Girl Scouts’ liberal agenda from some “well-informed constituents,” he took to the Internet to do his own research, “and what I found is disturbing,” he wrote. While officials of the organization deny the connection, the Girls Scouts and its worldwide partner, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, “have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood,” wrote Morris, adding that “abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts.”

Morris recalled that a Girl Scouts training program last year featured a sexually explicit pamphlet entitled Happy, Healthy, and Hot that, he said, advised girls, “‘There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!’”

He also charged that the organization promotes objectionable lifestyles, including homosexuality. “In fact,” he wrote to his fellow GOP lawmakers, of the 50 individuals the Girl Scouts promote as role models in a specific seminar, “only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background — all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists.” He added that cross-dressing and “transgender” boys are now allowed to become members of Girl Scout troops, “performing crafts with the girls and participat[ing] in overnight and camping activities — just like any real girl.”

He noted also that First Lady Michelle Obama, who with her husband is “radically pro-abortion” and a supporter of Planned Parenthood, has been named honorary president of the Girl Scouts of America.

Morris advised his GOP House colleagues that “we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the ‘People's House” to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization.” He challenged them to “examine these matters more closely before you extend your name and your reputation to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.”

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While Morris’ letter was meant only for his fellow Republican House members, it wasn’t long before the missive got into the hands of the media, going national and prompting predictable public backlash from the Girl Scouts and the head of Planned Parenthood’s Indiana franchise — and ridicule from his own GOP House Speaker.

On its website, the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michigan (GSNI-M) issued a statement, under the heading “What We Stand for,” assuring that neither it nor the national organization had any relationship with Planned Parenthood. “No funds are allocated from either Girl Scout organization to Planned Parenthood,” the group insisted, and “neither Girl Scout organization has a programmatic relationship with Planned Parenthood.”

From there Betty Cockrum, CEO for Indiana’s Planned Parenthood chapter, took up the Girl Scouts’ defense with a diatribe against recent investigations that appear to show a warm relationship between the two organizations. “It was disappointing to read Rep. Morris’ inflammatory, misleading, woefully inaccurate and harmful words about Planned Parenthood, the Girl Scouts of America and the president and first lady,” Cockrum declared. “On the national level, inflammatory and generally inaccurate claims about a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have been promoted primarily by anti-choice lawmakers seeking to place pressure on organizations to disassociate or distance themselves from Planned Parenthood.” Interestingly, while the Girl Scouts denied a connection between the two groups, in her statement Cockrum studiously did not.

Even Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma took a high-profile opportunity for a cheap shot at Morris, ridiculing his legislative and party colleague and informing the media that he had personally spent a whole day handing out Girl Scout cookies to fellow legislators. “I purchased 278 cases of Girl Scout cookies in the last four hours,” said Bosma after Morris’ letter had gone public, and the Speaker closed one House session by inviting former Girl Scouts in the chamber to stand up.

Such media attention and ridicule prompted Morris to issue an apology for the letter, telling the Girl Scout organization: “I realize now that my words were emotional, reactionary, and inflammatory. For that I sincerely apologize…. I certainly should not have painted the entire Girl Scouts organization with such a wide brush.”

While refusing to back off his claims, he said that had he known his letter would receive such scrutiny, “I would have cited further evidence for my position.” Nonetheless, he emphasized that he still would not sign the resolution, sticking to his conviction that the Girl Scout organization had compromised its mission with policies that run counter to traditional family values. “My conscience would not allow me to publicly endorse an organization that partners with Planned Parenthood, our state’s leading abortion provider,” he concluded his apology.

The depth of Morris’ convictions about the organization is demonstrated in his decision to pull his own daughters out of Girl Scouts, enrolling them instead in a Christian alternative called the American Heritage Girls. “In this traditional group they will learn about values and principles that will not confuse their conservative Hoosier upbringing,” he explained.

While the national Girl Scouts officials have aggressively denied any relationship between their organization and Planned Parenthood, or of the promotion of questionable lifestyles, The New American has reported on concerns about the Girl Scouts from multiple credible sources. Among them is a report published by Catholic News Agency that seems to confirm that the “connection to Planned Parenthood, as well as to other abortion/contraception causes, appears to go straight to the top of the [Girl Scouts-USA] bureaucracy.”

Meanwhile, in the time since Morris’ letter was written, a connection between Indiana’s Girl Scout organization and Planned Parenthood has been confirmed. As reported by LifeSiteNews.com, Indiana Right to Life had uncovered evidence that a “Family Life Education Program” used by the Girl Scouts in 12 Indiana counties had been created by a Planned Parenthood employee in Bloomington, Indiana.

LifeSiteNews reported that the Planned Parenthood employee, Anne Reese, “had been posthumously awarded Bloomington’s 2009 Lifetime Contribution Award. Her biography, which appeared on the city website, stated: ‘Anne’s career started with Planned Parenthood in Bloomington where she worked for many years as a health and sexuality educator, and helped initiate the Family Life Education program for Girl Scouts ages five to 18 throughout a twelve-county area.’”

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter said: “We are deeply concerned by this new information. The Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have both dismissed Rep. Morris’ concerns as baseless, yet the Bloomington website could not be any clearer.”