State representative brands Girl Scouts "radical"

Rep. Bob Morris

Girl Scouts draw most of their attention this time of year because of their cookies. But this morning, people are in a heated debate online about whether the Girl Scouts are a "radical" organization.

An Indiana lawmaker is the center of this controversy for comments he made to connect the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood. And it's an issue that's blowing up nationwide. 

In a letter to fellow Republicans, Representative Bob Morris of Fort Wayne said, "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," Morris wrote.
He added that there's no evidence of this affiliation on websites for the Girl Scouts, and that the organizations deny funding Planned Parenthood.

This all came as an explanation why Morris would not support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girls Scouts, what he called a "radicalized organization."

Morris points to the national organization, saying, "In the Girl Scouts education seminar, girls are directed to study the example of role models."

"Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background - all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists."

"The Honorary President of Girl Scouts of America is Michelle Obama, and the Obamas are radically pro-abortion and vigorously support the agenda of Planned Parenthood, (that) should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization."
The Huffington Post picked up on this story, as has the Associated Press.
As you might guess, Morris' remarks are stirring some heated reaction on social media.
These comments are from our WTHR Facebook page:

Michael Becker writes: "Unfortunately, he is correct. Indiana grass roots Girl Scouts is the exception not the norm with the GSA. They work closely with Planned Parenthood."
Suzanne Wallis Funk writes: "I am an assistant leader, and nowhere in our training does it mention anything about abortion, homosexuality, or Planned Parenthood. What an idiot!"

Tiffany Ross comments: "My daughter has been in Girl Scouts six years, and what she has learned is self respect. She has gained sales experience, and she has made numerous friends."
Kenneth Rowan Gencks adds: "I think he's an embarrassment and his comments say a lot about him and who he is."

And Richard DeLeon remarks:  "I have read the letter. I see it written by a man who follows his beliefs. I don't dare assume that there is no other person who agrees with him."

You can read the full letter here.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana response

Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) President and CEO Betty Cockrum issued the following statement today in response to Rep. Morris' letter:

"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.

PPIN does not produce nor distribute the materials Rep. Morris referenced. Planned Parenthood of Indiana is first and foremost a provider of affordable, high-quality health care, serving more than 100,000 Hoosiers across the state. Our nonprofit provides preventive services such as life-saving cancer screenings, Pap tests, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, as well as sexual health education and health counseling. As part of our sexual education services, we offer a variety of age-appropriate education services developed by trained professionals.

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. As part of their campaign against the Girl Scouts, these groups are also attacking the Girl Scouts' policies on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Planned Parenthood currently has no formal partnership with the Girl Scouts, but supports their mission and recognizes their century of contributions to our society.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana will continue working to fulfill our mission of providing affordable and quality care to Hoosiers who need it. At a time when Indiana's families are struggling, it is disappointing to see legislators, such as Rep. Morris, focused on divisive social issues and restricting access to basic health care, rather than creating jobs and putting our neighbors back to work."