Indiana senator refuses to honor Girl Scouts because of Planned Parenthood connection
INDIANAPOLIS, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A conservative Indiana legislator who was vilified for refusing to honor the Girl Scouts of America has been vindicated by recent evidence of more ties between the scouting organization and Planned Parenthood, says Indiana Right to Life.
State Sen. Bob Morris circulated a letter to colleagues earlier this month explaining that he would not sign a resolution honoring the Girl Scout’s 100th anniversary because of “disturbing” information he had found about the organization’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Morris cited a Planned Parenthood brochure which was made available to participants at a United Nations panel hosted by the Girl Scouts, adding that the problem was widespread in the organization, since many troop leaders indoctrinated girls “according to the principles of Planned Parenthood.”
He also expressed concern that the organization was promoting the homosexual lifestyle, and noted that some Girl Scout troops had allowed “transgender” boys to join their ranks.
“As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the ‘Peoples’ House’ to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization,” he wrote, in the February 18th email.
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Morris became the target of ridicule after his email was leaked to the press. His fellow Republican, House Speaker Brian Bosma, told the AP that he had purchased 278 cases of Girl Scout cookies and was handing them out to fellow members in response to Morris’ comments.
Press reports trumpeted statements from both Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michigan denying that any relationship existed between the two organizations.
Morris later apologized for the tone of the letter which he said, was “emotional, reactionary, and inflammatory.” However, he defended his stance against the resolution, which he said was based not on local problems with Girl Scout troops in Indiana, but the organization’s national policies.
The Girl Scout’s connections to Planned Parenthood have been confirmed by Girl Scout CEO Kathy Cloninger, who stated in a 2004 interview on the NBC Today Show that the organization partners with Planned Parenthood in its sex education efforts, Morris said.
A subsequent survey conducted by STOPP International found that around 25% of councils who responded to the survey said they were partnering with Planned Parenthood in some way. Sixty-five out of the country’s 249 councils responded to the survey.
The Senator wrote: “To my knowledge, the Girl Scouts USA have not rescinded, corrected or denied that statement. If the Girl Scouts USA now denies the statement of its CEO, I challenge the organization to do so publicly so that individuals are not confused as to the organization’s ties to Planned Parenthood.”
However, Indiana Right to Life is arguing that the Morris’ concerns are relevant even on the local level, based on information uncovered on a government website which revealed that a “Family Life Education Program” used by the Girl Scouts in 12 counties had been created by a Planned Parenthood employee in Bloomington, Indiana.
The 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.”
The pro-life organization re-ignited the controversy by drawing attention to the bio in a statement released last Thursday.
“We are deeply concerned by this new information,” said Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and chief executive officer. “The Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have both dismissed Rep. Morris’ concerns as baseless, yet the Bloomington website could not be any clearer.”
Responding to Fichter’s statement, Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO and President Betty Cockrum claimed, in comments to the Hoosier Times, that Reese’s involvement with the Girl Scouts was volunteer work she performed on her own time, “completely separate” from her employment at Planned Parenthood.
Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan told the news service that the pro-life group had made a “giant leap” based on the fact that the names of two organizations “happen to fall in the same person’s biography.”
“Seldom do I speak this bluntly, but these people are zealots with too much free time on their hands and too little common sense in their heads,” he said.
But Fichter is standing by his statement, he told LifeSiteNews in an interview.
“We should be discussing the facts found on the city of Bloomington’s website, not engaging in ad hominem attacks against pro-lifers,” he said.
According to Planned Parenthood’s own admission, a sexuality educator from the organization was a key player in developing a curriculum for the Girl Scouts, said Fichter. “Whether that was in a volunteer or paid capacity is really not the point,” he added
He noted, however, that the way the information was phrased in the bio seemed to indicate a closer relationship between the Girl Scouts and the nation’s largest abortion provider than either organization was acknowledging.
“If that is not factual, and if that information is incorrect, the city of Bloomington needs to change the info it is providing on its own website instead of lashing out at us,” said Fichter.