NATIONAL — Girl Scouts are fighting back against claims by conservatives who say that they advocate abortion and female politicians who support reproductive freedom.
Anti-abortion groups launched a boycott on Girl Scout cookies in what is being called “CookieCott 2014,” a movement led by John Pisciotta, the director of Pro-Life Waco, in Texas.
During a panel discussion about women like Beyonce and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai entitled, “Incredible Ladies Who Should Be Women of the Year For 2013,” a Girl Scouts representative made brief comments about Wendy Davis, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who made headlines in 2013 when she temporarily blocked an abortion restriction bill in Texas using an 11-hour filibuster.
Since then, reactionary conservatives have been in an uproar but this isn’t the first time anti-abortion groups have lashed out against the Girl Scouts, an organization conservatives say have had a “relationship with Planned Parenthood.”
“We encourage women to shop their values,” says Penny Nance, president and CEO of the conservative Concerned Women for America. “The Girl Scouts of America went off track years ago, and I turned in my sash in response. Their alliance with Planned Parenthood and the left is not new.”
Those allegations were strongly disputed in statements from the organization.
On the Girl Scout’s website, the organization explicitly states it does not take a stance on abortion or sexuality either.
“Girl Scouts of the USA does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives,” said the website. “Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, GSUSA directs councils, including volunteer leaders, to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.”
The abortion rate in the USA has dropped to its lowest level since the procedure was declared legal by the US Supreme Court in 1973, according to a new data analysis by the Guttmacher Institute that reflects a 13% decline in both the abortion rate and the number of abortions from 2008 to 2011.
“A 13% percent drop over a three-year time period is a pretty steep decline. It’s unusual,” says Rachel Jones, the lead author of the study by Guttmacher, a research organization that supports the right to legal abortion and seeks to expand access to information on sexual and reproductive health.
Jones attributes the decline to more women using “highly effective contraceptive methods such as the IUD” and the fact that the study period was during the recession and sluggish recovery.
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