The National Black Prolife Coalition, has released a new report on the harmful impact of abortion. Visit the website for the latest on the report which was released on Capitol Hill. Click here National Black Prolife Colation
Archive for the ‘Awareness’ Category
While abortion wasn’t mentioned in the presidential debate last week, a TV ad featuring abortion survivor Melissa Ohden ran on Denver’s NBC affiliate during the presidential debate. The ad, produced by the Susan B. Anthony List’s Women Speak Out political action committee, criticizes President Obama for opposing an Illinois bill that would have protected babies born alive after an abortion.
I do not ever watch horror stories. Ever. Yet, I find myself in the midst of a real horror story that happened right here in Georgia, at an abortion center on Powers Ferry Road. And unlike the movies where the monster is stopped from harming others, this monster is still performing abortions and billing taxpayers for it!
It was 10:00 a.m., October 7, 2009 when this young woman sought an abortion. She was the last patient of the day. Upon entering the center she paid $250 in cash and gave them her Medicaid card, understanding Medicaid was to be billed the remaining $200.00 for the $450.00 abortion. Shortly thereafter she was given a sonogram and 5 pills, one of which was an antibiotic and the rest she was told was for pain. After drawing blood another technician gave her another pill that she was told to place in her vagina. She was led to a room where other patients were to await her turn to go into the procedure room. It was here that she encountered a sixteen year old that was drooling (because of the medication she had been given) and crying because she needed help to the bathroom. As the young woman helped her to the bathroom, the teen explained she was back for a second procedure because when she got home the night before she realized the baby was still inside her.
Despite having had a narcotic administered, the patients were told to walk downstairs (unescorted by clinic staff) and change into a gown. Periodically center staff came to “check” on them to see if the narcotic had taken effect. When a Latina patient began acting drunk she was taken to another room where the procedure was performed. But the drugs were not having the desired effect on the young woman, so she was led, finally, to the procedure room where an Asian man inserted an IV into her hand. The drugs, she said, burned as they entered her body and the last thing she remembered was screaming. Twenty four hours later, . . .
To read the rest of the blog click HERE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 13, 2012
Contact: Leslie Palma
STATEN ISLAND, NY — As its voter education campaign intensifies, Priests for Life released the second in a series of short, powerful videos this morning.
Today’s video, just under 30 seconds in length, focuses on a simple comparison between the four words that many abortion advocates use to justify baby killing, and the four words that our Lord uses to bestow life on the world.
The video can be seen at http://youtu.be/UKhNrgV8JEA
“These are simple tools to raise awareness,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director. “We are asking our fellow citizens to use them, to spread them far and wide on You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, websites, email lists, and other means of communication. We are making this series of videos based on messages that have already been tested and that have brought about striking results in the way they give people insights into the number one issue of our day, abortion.”
The first video in this series, released two weeks ago, forces the question of what disqualifies a candidate from public office, by making a dramatic and graphic comparison between a candidate’s views on abortion and his/her views on terrorism.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit Priests for Life.
Can anyone imagine Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. blowing up an abortion clinic? Please think about this; a statesman and a preacher, both were professed African American (or Negros in their day) Christians. These two men lived in different eras, they did not share common vocations, and yet many would agree that they delivered their inspiring and uplifting messages with dignity and courage. When you heard them speak, you didn’t want to destroy life, you wanted to pursue life, liberty and happiness.
I’m asking this question about Douglass and King because for some reason, the prolife community is often perceived to be a bunch of kooks who go around blowing up abortion mills and baby killing centers. In all actuality, the first people known to blow up an abortion mill were Black Panthers in the 20th century. They considered abortion to be a genocidal threat to the Black community, and attempted to curtail the scourge. Again, I am not advocating their choice of methods.
These types of misconceptions, that prolife people are violent should be corrected. For the most part, members of the Prolife Movement are nonviolent. There are, however various discrepancies regarding messaging and methods among the various branches of the Prolife Movement. Sometimes, these issues create tension that could generally be avoided if we could only learn and follow the rules of the game and stay in our own lane.
There is a process that many sane people regard. This process can be identified as “knowing how to drive, following the rules, and staying in your lane.” When people are taught to drive, they learn that both respect and courtesy for the other drivers are very important if one wishes to stay alive while driving. Generally, people who drive on the roads of life are not usually going the same place, even if they are sometimes driving in the same direction. Yet, the common goal is generally a desire to get where one is going safely and on time.
These same principles should be regarded in any movement, especially the Prolife Movement. For example, I am post abortive, and am a strong supporter of speaking out regarding the harms of abortion and also advocating post abortion healing. I do however have some friends who feel that it is more important to teach women to remain abstinent or celibate until they are ready to become mothers. I happen to agree that abstinence is a major strategy in the prolife message and choose not to contend with those who have a predominately abstinence ministry. In other words, it would not be in my lane to ask them to stop delivering their abstinence message and do a post abortion healing message because that is more important. Both messages are important.
Staying in our lanes helps all the bases to be covered. Some will do voter registration. Good! Some will write letters to Congress. Good! Some will pray at abortion mills. Good! Some will operate pregnancy care centers. Good! Some will file necessary law suits! Some will donate diapers, milk, clothes, booties, etc. Good! All of us can pray, and all of us can donate time and money to the cause! Did I miss your lane? Is there some contribution you are making that isn’t covered here? Please let me know! Your work is very important, and we need to know you!
The main thing is, on God’s highway, the sanctity of life has drivers in all lanes and therefore the bases are covered! Let us be mindful to be supportive in prayer, respectful in serving and courteous when we have differing opinions and methods. There are no big I’s and little You’s in God’s kingdom after all.
This past Friday Tonya Reaves, 24, died from a hemorrhage after an abortion at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Chicago. While we are deeply saddened by her senseless death, we are also deeply saddened to report that Ms. Reaves joins the ranks of perhaps of hundreds if not thousands of women harmed by legal abortion.
Many people may think that this is a rare occurrence but nothing can be further from the truth. Botched abortions happen all the time and yes some even result in death. Unfortunately, the abortion industry is so under regulated that many of the complications from abortions go unreported or are reported without adding the cause of abortion in the component.
Ms. Reaves unfortunate death is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The CBS Chicago article states, “Tonya Reaves, 24, died late Friday night from a hemorrhage, with a cervical dilation and evacuation, as well as an intrauterine pregnancy as contributing causes, according to the medical examiner’s office. People, she didn’t die because she was pregnant, she died because she was butchered. Thus terminology may be offensive to some, but her death is more offensive.
“She died after she’d had an abortion at Planned Parenthood at 18 S. Michigan Ave,” according to the medical examiner’s office.”
“Her death was ruled an accident.” Accident, as in they messed up and killed her?
And what did Planned Parenthood have to say about her death?
In a written statement, Planned Parenthood of Illinois CEO Carole Brite said “We were shocked and saddened upon learning of a tragic development at a nearby hospital. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of this patient.
“While legal abortion services in the United States have a very high safety record, a tragedy such as this is devastating to loved ones and we offer our deepest sympathies. Planned Parenthood of Illinois cares deeply about the health and safety of each and every patient. We do not publicly discuss private patient matters and we follow HIPAA laws that forbid the disclosure of patient information.”
But will Planned Parenthood be held responsible? Probably not. Should they? Absolutely.
As Operation Rescue writes in their article, “Abortion deaths like this are completely avoidable. When a woman bleeds to death after an abortion, it is usually an indication of error on the part of the abortionist coupled with a delay in calling for emergency assistance. Planned Parenthood should be held accountable,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “Our heartfelt prayers go out to the victim’s family at this time of tragic loss.”
Carol Everett, an ex. abortionist speaks out in Bloodmoney and tells of the many incidents of botched abortions and the industries lack of care for the safety of the women. Their main goal was to make money, laws and rules be damned.
The mainstream media doesn’t report many similar cases, do the abortion lobby continues to get away with murder.
Only when something as horrific as the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who ran an abortion clinic so macabre that it was called a “House of Horrors” will the media report on it. But check out a pro-life website like Operation Rescue and you will see report after report of botched abortions.
We must start demanding that regulatory agencies start doing their jobs and inspect abortion clinics and if they are found in violation of the law, shut them down.
Women need to be protected from predators that are more interested in the almighty dollar than they are about the safety of their patients.
For years Silent No More Awareness and other concerned citizens have been reporting about the harmful effects of abortion and unnatural birth control remedies. Breast cancer, strokes, heart attacks and other maladies such as the serious and fatal injuries and ultimately deaths are all part of the lies behind the masks of false compassion the abortionists wear.
More civil wrongs in the name of women’s rights. God forbid.
Regarding the Derzis ruling, “The judge has proposed a new legal doctrine: A dangerous abortion clinic is better than no abortion clinic. We beg to differ.” – Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue
To make matters worse, the abortion industry keeps saying this about abortions: We want them to be safe and rare. Yet every time that new laws are proposed that would do just that, they sue for injunctions and try to fight the laws saying how that would make it harder for women to get abortions.
Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice I would think that any law that would make it safer for women to get abortions would be a welcomed law. That is not the case in many states and certainly not in Mississippi.
Mississippi passed a law that required anyone performing abortions in the state to be a licensed Ob-Gyn and have professional privileges allowing them to admit patients to a local hospital. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, MS, Mississippi’s only abortion mill, has neither.
The law was passed in March and was supposed to have taken effect on July 1, 2012. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization filed suit on June 27 to block the law from going into effect stating that the law was passed as an effort to close down their abortion clinic and not to protect the safety of women. A federal judge granted them a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
As reported by Operation Rescue, on Friday, July 6 the state filed a brief outlining the health risks to women from the abortion clinic. “The brief, submitted by Special Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Bryant, cited the recent closure of Alabama’s New Woman All Women after the Alabama Department of Public Health discovered 76 pages of violations, including “evidence that clinic staff failed to respond to complaints of post-surgical complications.” New Woman All Women was owned by Diane Derzis, who also owns the Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“Instead of remedying the violations, Derzis agreed to close the abortion clinic and disaffiliate from any one that might attempt to relicense the facility.
“The State’s brief also cited a lawsuit filed in 2011 by abortionist Joseph Booker, a former employee of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) who sued the clinic “alleging that Derzis had instituted numerous practices that jeopardized the health and safety of patients, including:
• Permitting untrained staff to perform and interpret ultrasounds, despite the fact that accurate ultrasound are vital to the medical safety of patients.
• Pressure from the JWHO administrator to administer RU486 abortion pills in a manner that is “dangerous” and not approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
• Belief that JWHO does not carry malpractice insurance.
• JWHO is jeopardizing patient safety by not using a “local doctor who has hospital admitting privileges” when administering RU486 because of the “real risk of severe hemorrhage” and “the risk of ectopic pregnancy” associated with the drug.
“The State noted that as the Supreme Court abortion rulings currently stand, “the right to abortion services belongs to the women who access those services – not to the physicians who provide them.” Parker has claimed that his right to perform abortions is jeopardized by the new law, when no such Constitutional right exists.”
On July 13, Judge Daniel P. Jordon III ruled that Mississippi House Bill 1390 could go into effect but that the penalties could not be enforced. As Troy Newman said in a statement regarding the ruling, “It is reprehensible that the JWHO should it be allowed to continue to endanger the lives and health of women simply because it is the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. Women deserve better than to have the Court ignore serious health risks inflicted upon them by fly-by-night abortionists who swoop into Mississippi from out-of-state, only to leave the matter of complications to emergency room staff that have to figure out on their own what happened.
The judge has proposed a new legal doctrine: A dangerous abortion clinic is better than no abortion clinic. We beg to differ.”
It seems that every week I read an article about a woman being transported by ambulance to a hospital after complications from an abortion. It seems to be happening even more lately. And to top that many complications associated with abortions go unreported and are misdiagnosed at doctor’s offices and hospitals.
Even the media does a poor job in reporting such incidents. In fact, the bias media plays these incidents down and try to paint abortionists in a better light than many deserve. Such is the case in Mississippi where The Daily Beast did a featured story on Diane Derzis, the owner of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The article paints her as if she was a saint, and maybe to pro-abortionists she is, and doesn’t make any mention of any of the safety problems she had in Alabama where she was in violation of a host of safety issues.
I am constantly dumbfounded that the rights of abortionists seem to always be placed ahead of the rights of the patient. Many rulings by judges send the message that abortionists have a right to make millions of dollars performing abortions even if women get hurt or killed. Regulations for abortion clinics are so lax and unenforced that many times clinics are staffed by unqualified personnel.
I’ll leave you with the story of Suzanne who went in for an abortion and came out paralyzed from the neck down and needing a wheelchair to get around. Read more HERE.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 13, 2012
Contact: Leslie Palma
STATEN ISLAND, NY — Priests for Life is pleased to announce today to all its supporters that it is sponsoring and promoting a three-day training course in Rome this September for Catholic-Inspired NGOs, hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Family and relevant offices of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.
With specific focus on social issues, training and networking, the event has at its heart the promotion and defense of the rights and dignity of human life and will feature contributions from leading international scholars.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said” “We are truly honored to collaborate in this wonderful endeavor, and in sharing with you such great news, we invite you to join us in prayer for God’s blessing upon the event and upon all who participate in its task of bringing to the world the message of the Gospel of Life.”
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit Priests for Life.
As the U.S. bishops take up an inquiry, parents continue to be concerned about the organization. Boys who ‘identify’ as girls are welcome to join in Colorado.
Quo vadis, Girl Scouts of America?
After years of on-going concerns about the organization’s direction, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken up the question of whether its current program is at all good for girls.
The bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, chaired by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., will address “possible problematic relationships with other organizations, the issue of problematic programmatic materials and resources and other matters of concern.”
Yesterday, we looked at how part of the problem may stem from the fact that councils are free to set their own agenda, rather than strictly follow a national policy.
The bishops’ apprehensions fall into three major groups, accompanied by a host of smaller issues.
There are concerns about Girl Scouts USA’s ties to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the confederation of international Girl Scout groups that has exhibited pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agendas in many instances.
There is an ongoing question regarding the GSUSA’s connection to and involvement with Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide, promote or condone abortion and contraception.
And there is the issue of how GSUSA handles sexuality, sexual education and homosexuality.
Although the Girl Scouts claim to be neutral on the more political issues related to same-sex attraction, their leadership is larded with supporters of — and activities for — homosexual rights, and some of their educational material shows a clear bias in favor of homosexual issues.
As just one example, the current spokesman for the GSUSA is Joshua Ackley.
Under the name of Joshua Starr, he fronted the “homocore” (hardcore/punk music with homosexual lyrical themes) band the Dead Betties, which was founded in 2002 as part of the “queer punk” movement. The band’s lyrics and music videos are dominated by sexual content, violence and misogyny.
Ackley is in charge of media relations for the GSUSA and writes for the official Girl Scout blog.
In addition to Ackley, other members of the Girl Scouts’ leadership are active in homosexual-rights issues, including Lynn Cothern, the director of administration, and Timothy Higdon, chief of external affairs, who both worked with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Cothern recently resigned from GSUSA and, according to his Facebook page, now works as a “major gifts strategist: for Girl Scouts Cactus-Pine Council in Arizona.
In contrast to the Boy Scouts of America, the GSUSA has no official prohibition on homosexual persons in leadership positions or as members, saying there are “no membership policies on sexual preference.” Its official website links to numerous resources that promote abortion and the homosexual agenda, including same-sex “marriage.”
Same-sex issues are routinely included in Girl Scout materials about “diversity” and “tolerance.” Indeed, when the Boy Scouts were embroiled in a lawsuit about their right to refuse to allow homosexual men to be leaders, the GSUSA was quick to affirm its acceptance of homosexuals, saying, “Your sexuality has absolutely no bearing on your personal character. You can be a role model for a young man or woman regardless of your sexual inclination.”
Problematic Learning Material
Over the years, parents have encountered a variety of problematic educational materials and resources created for use by scouts and leaders.
The resource entitled “Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy” for the Advocate award includes a work page with which girls can complete the activity “Advocacy in My Own Life.” The example given is that of tennis player Martina Navrotilova, who “set a milestone for gay rights with her openness about her sexual orientation. She became an activist for gay rights and, in 1992, sued the state of Colorado over a ballot measure denying gays and lesbians protection from discrimination.”
“GIRLtopia,” for example, is a publication that “invites girls to consider how the world is far from perfect for girls around the globe. As girls take in this reality, they are invited to envision an ideal world — a society that consistently respects their needs, values and interests.”
On the page for “Utopias,” they begin with St. Thomas More (who coined the word) and then recommend Sherri Tepper’s novel, The Gate to Woman’s Country. Tepper’s book describes an “ideal” society in which men are subservient, procreation is managed in a twice yearly “festival,” and eugenics is the chosen path to perfection.
Aside from the thematic material that conflicts with the Catholic faith, there is a high degree of mature language and sexual content, notable even for a book recommended to high-school juniors and seniors.
Even worse is some content recommended for fourth-grade and fifth-grade girls. The book Agent of Change, billed as a book about “power,” has a profile of Marjane Satrapi and her graphic novel Persepolis, which includes page after page of extreme sexual content, drug use, Marxism and foul language. The book is intended for an adult audience, and much of the material is inappropriate for minors.
GSUSA recently made changes that will remove references to Persepolis and Gate to Women’s Country in future printings, as well as to Martina Navrotalova’s gay rights activities. In the meantime, girls can continue to use the materials, or the council will provide “stickers” for them to cover up the offensive content or replacement pages, available online. However, even after recent changes, some materials still refer girls to pro-abortion organizations like the ACLU, Amnesty International, and the National Organization for Women (NOW); role models like Betty Friedan, Margaret Mead, Gloria Steinam, Dolores Huerta (a pro-choice Catholic) and more; and sexually explicit websites like Jezebel.com, MarieClaire.com and others.
The 2011 “World Thinking Day” activity pack, aimed at ages 6-16, includes “sexual and reproductive rights.” The “AIDS Badge Curriculum” created by WAGGGS, and available to Girl Scouts, suggests having girls “role-play” negotiation for use of a condom during sex. One of the activities is to create a display to encourage use of condoms, instruct girls how to acquire them, demonstrate their correct use and distribute them.
Although GSUSA had said that it would not “take a stand on or advocate for or against any issue regarding a girl’s health and sexuality,” there continue to be problems with resources available to members. These are among the issues which the bishops hope to address, and GSUSA has already removed problematic links on its website and is revising some materials.
However, as recently as 2007, former CEO Kathy Cloninger said: “I feel like we cannot be the nation’s expert on girl issues without dealing with how issues of sexuality affect the girls of this nation. We believe parents are part of the discussion, but girl scouting needs to be part of education and discussion as well.”
Do the Girl Scouts no longer believe this?
Boys as Girl Scouts
In addition to these looming issues, the Girl Scouts are also now accepting boys who suffer from gender-identity disorders. The Colorado Council decided to accept 7-year-old boy Bobby Montoya because he “identifies” as a girl.
The Girl Scouts of Colorado said, “Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization, and we accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl, and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout. Our requests for support of transgender kids have grown, and Girl Scouts of Colorado is working to best support these children, their families and the volunteers who serve them. … We are accelerating our support systems and training so that we’re better able to serve all girls, families and volunteers.”
This naturally raises the problem of boys being allowed to go on overnights with girls simply by “identifying” as girls. Mixed-gender overnights are normally forbidden.
GSUSA spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins says that “Girl Scouts of the USA is an inclusive organization focused on delivering a leadership experience for all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade. In situations involving transgender children, we handle each situation on a case-by-case basis so we can best handle the individual circumstances needed to address each issue. Of paramount importance to the Girl Scouts is the well-being of the child in question and the children in the troop (or the activity in question). We will take the steps we feel are necessary to ensure that all of the children involved have a safe environment in order to enjoy our programming.”
What the Church ius Doing
There are more than 3 million Girl Scouts in America. Some estimates suggest that perhaps 25% of them are Catholic or are in troops sponsored through a Catholic organization.
As concerns arose about the Girl Scouts, the U.S. bishops’ conference deferred to the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), which defends the Scouts. Its initial response was to debunk, rather than address, claims made against the GSUSA.
In its most recent position statement released in February 2012, NFCYM acknowledged that, beginning in 2010, parents began to raise concerns “that GSUSA had taken an intentional position contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage, abortion, contraception and sexuality. In 2011 and 2012, the accusations continued. Our practice as an organization is to investigate, understand and then, if necessary, challenge such matters by going directly to the sources involved. As a result, NFCYM has been in direct contact with GSUSA leadership and has engaged in substantial conversation characterized by mutual respect and shared goals.”
NFCYM met with GSUSA and its new CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, “who has committed to continued dialogue.”
The GSUSA affirmed its “commitment to strengthening their relationship with faith communities and honoring the religious principles in their program resource material. Therefore, changes have recently been made to GSUSA’s print and Web program content as a result of the issues of concern raised by NFCYM and others. In addition, a thorough review of all GSUSA program resources is in process by GSUSA.”
Indeed, the GSUSA has been responsive to complaints in the past, removing some problematic links from its website and some offending material from learning resources.
Additionally, GSUSA and NFCYM will continue to work together to “more quickly and successfully address accusations and communicate factual information.”
Chavez, a Catholic, told Catholic News Service, “For nearly 100 years, we have partnered with the Catholic Church to support the growth and development of millions of girls. It is a wonderful legacy, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to participate in the process that will only enhance our partnership.”
Following this meeting, Bishop Rhoades met with his Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and consulted with Robert McCarty and Kathleen Carver of the NFCYM. Bishop Rhoades reaffirmed “the good service that so many of our Catholic Girl Scout troops have provided and continue to provide at the local level, both to the Church and to the community at large. In the spirit of Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988), the Church ever seeks to hold up activity that promotes and fosters the dignity and vocation of girls and of young women. Catholic Girl Scout troops have served girls and young women for many years, and the committee is grateful for this service.”
However, “important questions still remain and need to be examined” at both a local and national level. Bishop Rhoades has requested that the committee “provide a resource(s) for local-level use that bishops can share with priests, youth and young-adult ministry directors, pro-life directors, educational and catechetical leaders and others. Such a resource(s) may include considerations related to the identity of Catholic troops and considerations that may be helpful for parents.”
He has requested that USCCB staff work directly with GSUSA and NFCYM to “identify and address remaining questions and concerns,” and has also invited his brother bishops “to communicate questions or concerns with me or the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.”
Tess Volanski, one of the co-founders of SpeakNowGirlScouts.com, which tracks problems with the organization from a Catholic perspective, remains concerned.
“Catholic parents and families need to understand that GSUSA is not just an organization that has made a few mistakes with questionable material,” she said. “The group has shown repeatedly, through their curriculum, media use, staff and other sources, that they possess a set of values in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“In my opinion, Girl Scouts changing appears highly improbable. The general mindset of the organization has shifted, and for it to shift back to a wholesome scouting group, free from any sort of political agenda, would be verging on a miracle.”
Taken from an article that originally appeared on the National Catholic Register.
After years of questions and concerns about the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is conducting an inquiry into the organization and its relationship with the Catholic Church.
In a recent letter, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, briefed the country’s bishops on the committee’s “ongoing consideration” of the issue.
The main focus, Bishop Rhoades observed, is “possible problematic relationships with other organizations, the issue of problematic programmatic materials and resources and other matters of concern.”
There are more than 3 million Girl Scouts in America. Some estimates suggest that as many as 25% of them are Catholic or are in troops chartered through a Catholic organization.
The bishops’ conference is hoping to address long-standing parental and parish concerns regarding the appropriateness of Catholic girls joining the Girl Scouts. Their apprehensions center on three areas of concern, accompanied by a constellation of smaller issues.
First, there are concerns about GSUSA’s ties to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the confederation of international Girl Scout groups that has exhibited pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agendas in many instances.
Second, questions have been raised about GSUSA’s connection to and involvement with Planned Parenthood and other groups who provide, promote or condone abortion and contraception.
Finally, there is the issue of how GSUSA handles sexuality, sexual education and homosexuality.
One Family’s Awakening
Christy Volanski’s two daughters, Sydney and Tess, were both part of Girl Scouts. The girls had friends in their troop and enjoyed their experience, but after eight years of active scouting, Christy discovered that “the program was not in line with our personal faith and morals. The discovery of GSUSA’s ties to WAGGGS, a group advocating for accessible abortion and ‘sexual rights’ for youth, was upsetting. As members of Girl Scouts USA, we were automatically part of and supported WAGGGS, which, along with their controversial advocacy efforts, has a documented partnership to International Planned Parenthood Federation.”
The discovery led Sydney and Tess to begin SpeakNowGirlScouts.com, which tracks problems with the organization from a Catholic perspective, and one of the biggest problems is WAGGGS.
The organization dates back to 1928 and was founded to unite girl groups from around the world. But its mission and ideology have become anti-life.
In its role as an NGO (non-government organization), it has partnered with both the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which funds population control and “reproductive health” initiatives, and with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and actively campaigned for sex education, contraception, emergency contraception and abortion (including abortion as part of “minimum packages of sexual and reproductive health services”).
A portion of the group’s website that had included this last phrase was later modified to read “sexual and reproductive health services should, as a minimum, be accessible, affordable and safe.”
HonestGirlScouts.com estimated how much of the Girl Scouts’ money goes to WAGGGS, based on the 2009 annual report.
With 3,330,429 registered scouts, it’s possible that GSUSA generated $39,965,148 in membership fees alone, if each one of the scouts paid the full membership fee. They also average about $700 million in annual cookie sales. GSUSA pays an annual quota fee to WAGGGS, which totaled $1,465,389 in 2009.
And just who makes up the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts? They’re mostly Americans. GSUSA makes up 43.98% of the WAGGGS membership, with second-place India making up only 16.04%, followed by the Philippines (8.77%) and the U.K. (6.79%), with the 117 other member countries accounting for the remaining 24.42%.
Based on the available numbers, this means that 64.4% of the WAGGGS budget comes from U.S. girls.
All of these connections disturbed Christy Volanski enough to prompt her to contact her local council and then the national office.
“They were indifferent to the WAGGGS information promoting abortion and ‘sexual rights’ for youth,” she said, “and attempted to distance themselves from that advocacy effort, although we knew from GSUSA that all members of GSUSA were also a part of WAGGGS.
“They also claimed to be neutral on the subject of abortion and birth control, despite the evidence that local Girl Scout councils were permitted by GSUSA to partner with the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.”
The Girl Scouts’ connection to Planned Parenthood is a major area of concern.
In 2004, GSUSA CEO Kathy Cloninger admitted, “We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country to bring information-based sex education to girls.”
Since then, the Girl Scouts have issued a series of denials explaining that they have no relationships with Planned Parenthood. Its current statement is simply: “No, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.”
This is correct. Although figures in national leadership roles have ties to or support the agenda of Planned Parenthood, GSUSA tries to remain neutral on hot-button issues related to sexuality and abortion.
However, local councils are free to form partnerships, and there is evidence that some councils have done just that.
The connection between various councils and Planned Parenthood falls into several different categories. Sometimes, it is nothing more than the Girl Scouts appearing at a particular event along with Planned Parenthood, as the Girl Scouts of Northern California did in 2009 at the Women’s Policy Summit.
Other connections are more problematic, such as when various councils partnered with Planned Parenthood on their “Real Life. Real Talk” or “Nobody’s Fool” sex-education programs, as did councils in New York, Texas and Arizona.
In an annual report, Planned Parenthood of Western New York listed Girl Scouts of Western New York as a “community partner.”
Some issues that have generated a great deal of heat on the Internet are too sketchy to sort out.
The notorious, explicit Planned Parenthood pamphlet “Happy, Healthy and Hot” was allegedly discovered in a room at the United Nations that was used for a “girls only” workshop. The Girl Scouts deny that any of their people brought the pamphlet into the room or distributed it, claiming it must have been left there by a group who used the room earlier.
According to a Washington Times article, the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood handed out the semi-pornographic pamphlet “It’s Perfectly Normal” at a meeting in 2004, so it wouldn’t be unusual to find similar content at the same U.N. meeting that produced the WAGGGS’ demand for “sexual and reproductive rights” and “safe abortion.”
The problem comes down to organization. While the Boy Scouts of America have a strong central leadership that sets policy from the top down, GSUSA relies more on local leadership.
As GSUSA spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins observes, “Each council is a separate 501c3 organization with its own board of directors that is responsible for delivering the programming and membership to Girl Scouts. We can’t stress enough that Girl Scouts is a grassroots volunteer organization that is run mostly by parents in each community. The local volunteers, many in Catholic churches across the country, control what programming the girls receive. Parents, many of whom serve as troop volunteers, are actively engaged in those activities and well aware of what their girls are doing. The notion that a small band of individuals from a faraway place ‘control’ everything the girls see and do is simply fantasy.”
But reports of activities that depart from the traditional values that many families want to pass on to their daughters seem to add up to a pattern that makes many parents leery. Tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at some of those.
Taken from an article that originally appeared on the National Catholic Register.