Sharon Slater, a mother of seven, innocently walked into a panel sponsored by the Girl Scouts USA at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women a few weeks ago. Almost immediately she was asked to leave. All non-Scout adults were kicked out of the room, which was packed with adolescent girls.
Her curiosity piqued, Slater lingered by the door and when the panel ended she went immediately back inside to look around. What she found has shocked her and shocked Girl Scout moms around the country. Slater found a stack of brochures produced by Planned Parenthood called "Healthy, Happy and Hot" that among other things explained to the girls, "Some people have sex when they have been drinking or using drugs. That is your choice."
But it gets worse. The sex guide explains, "Many people think sex is just about vaginal or anal intercourse. But there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. Sex can include kissing, touching, licking, tickling, sucking and cuddling. Some people like to have aggressive sex, while others like to have soft sex and slow sex with their partners. There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!" It tells girls to explore the prostate. Remember, this was distributed in a panel for adolescent girls.
Besides advice about the prostate, the brochure, subtitled "Rights, Sexuality and Living with HIV," also gives incorrect and even dangerous information about rights and responsibilities. It tells the kids that, "sexual and reproductive rights are recognized around the world." Sexual rights are hardly recognized around the world. They are not even recognized here in the sexual paradise of the United States. The brochure tells the kids that their rights are violated when governments require them to tell their HIV status to their sex partners.
The Girl Scouts USA have offered various statements to outraged Scout leaders. First they denied they ever passed out the brochure. Then they denied the brochure was ever in the room and that Slater must have fished it out of the trash. Then they said a previous group might have left the brochure. Other users of that conference room on that day were the NAACP for a panel on climate change, the UN for an orientation meeting, and a Dutch poverty group for a panel on counter-terrorism. It is unlikely, to say the least, that the panels on climate change and counterterrorism would distribute Planned Parenthood sex guides for adolescents.
At the same UN meeting, which ended last Friday, the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides produced a document saying young women "demand their sexual and reproductive rights including access to comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual and reproductive services including contraception and emergency contraception, in order to avoid unintended pregnancies" and also called for access to "safe abortion."
While they have denied it was in their meeting, what the Girl Scout leadership has not done is distance themselves from the message of the brochure and from Planned Parenthood. But they would have a hard time doing that because they have a long time relationship with Planned Parenthood and have passed out brochures like this before.
At a Girl Scout conference in 2004, co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood, the Girl Scouts handed out a brochure to 700 grade-school girls with the title "It's Perfectly Normal," a guide that celebrated masturbation and that featured explicit drawings of couples having sex and a boy putting on a condom. It also listed, no surprise here, the top ten reasons for having an abortion.
The present day Girl Scouts are not your older sister's Scouts, let alone your Moms. Not by a long shot. They seem to have joined up fully with the anything-goes-ethos of the left-wing sexual buccaneers and for it they are lauded at the UN. Compare that with the Boy Scouts who have remained true to their founding vision and to traditional values and for it they are banned from using public buildings.
Will this be the issue that gets the Girl Scouts back on track? Unlikely. Girl Scout leadership is very dug in on this. But, there is revolt brewing in Girl Scout Land. A group of Mothers in St. Louis intend to ask the St. Louis region to break with the national organization. There likely will be more.
Girl Scout cookies remain awfully tasty, but it seems the moral price to purchase them is getting higher and higher.
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.