April 9 2010 Girl Scouts Newsletter
I have been watching the swirling controversy over the supposed distribution of Planned Parenthood by Girl Scouts at 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations with a mixture of disbelief, amusement, and anger.
I knew I had to write about it here but I'm still not sure what needs to be said other than this: the whole story is ridiculous. Anyone who knows anything about Girl Scouts knows this didn't happen and if it did happen, it was without any Girl Scout endorsement. The problem is that plenty of people do not know enough about Girl Scouts to realize this.
The "scandal" broke on March 11th in an article titled "Girl Scouts Distribute Planned Parenthood Sex Guide at UN Meeting" on the Catholic Family and Human Rights Friday Fax. It was soon followed by a press release and then article in the Washington Times titled "RUSE: The Girl Scout Sex Guide: Tasty cookies may carry moral price." What a juicy title and surely one meant to sell. If sex sells, then the coupling of innocence in the form of Girl Scouts with sex is all the more salacious. One article was even illustrated with a "badge" featuring an image most often found on trucker mud flaps.
All three pieces reported that GSUSA secretly distributed a brochure entitled "Healthy, Happy and Hot" to unsuspecting and unchaperoned young girls. The only thing better than a story of sex and Girl Scouts is to tie it up with a bow of a secrecy. The publication's message was how to live a happy and sexually fulfilled life with HIV, although the folks at C-Fam refer to it as a "dangerous and explicit sex guide."
The truth of the matter is that the so-called reporter was not in attendance at the conference and had he been there he would know that GSUSA did not distribute this material.
GSUSA has issued a statement and it's worth quoting because it is the only thing I have read about the story that seems reasonable, balanced, and, well, truthful:
Earlier this month, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) was honored to attend and participate in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, where girls were encouraged to take action on global issues concerning women and girls. Our participation in that conference was recently the subject of numerous internet stories and blogs that are factually inaccurate and troubling. Here are the facts of that meeting:
• The Girls Only Workshop was jointly hosted by Girl Scouts of the USA, UNICEF’s Working Group on Girls, Girls Learn International, and The Grail. The meeting was only open to the girls and participating sponsors.
• Only seven adults were in the room at the time of the meeting, each representing one of the sponsors of the event. No one from Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute was in the room to report on the event.
• 30 - 35 girls from across the world participated in this event. All teenagers.
• The girls received a copy of the only document they were working on titled (“The Girls’ Statement”). No other documents were given to the girls as part of this event.
• The room in question was also used to host other events over the course of the multi-day conference. Prior to our girls entering the room, we did not “sanitize’ the room to ensure that no trash or other items were left behind. We did request that those not associated with the sponsors to leave the room prior to our session.
• The Girl Scouts of the USA was not contacted by Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) regarding its initial story to discuss the facts of this event. Had they applied these basic journalistic standards, perhaps the true details of this event would have been reported.
The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on family planning. Our membership is a cross-section of America with regard to opinions on religious and social issues and practices. We believe these matters are best decided by girls and their families.
The Girl Scout organization has no affiliation with any political organization.
Our Mission in Girl Scouting is to build girls of courage, confidence and character – who make the world a better place. We continue to be proud of our girls and look forward to showing the world what our girls can do. We thank everyone for their support of Girl Scouting.
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