Politics & Policy

Girl Scouts Gone Wild

The Girl Scouts are supposed to be about selling cookies and tying knots; what are they doing with the likes of Planned Parenthood?

I’ve seen more than a few boxes of Do-Si-Dos and Samoas around lately. It’s hard to look askance at the Girl Scouts when there’s so much sweetness in the air, but there is reason for keeping the Girl Scouts out of the “mom and apple pie” pantheon. For one thing, the organization has a think tank, a nongovernmental organization, and a welcome mat out to Planned Parenthood.

At a meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this month, the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides held a session for young people in which the International Planned Parenthood Federation reportedly distributed a brochure about living with HIV titled Healthy, Happy and Hot.” (Gratitude to U.N. watchdogs like C-FAM for keeping an eye out for such nefarious nonsense.)

#ad#The brochure sets itself up as a feel-good guide for dangerous behavior: “Young people living with HIV may feel that sex is just not an option, but don’t worry — many young people living with HIV live healthy, fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives. You can, too, if you want to! Things get easier (and sex can get even better) as you become more comfortable with your status.”

And, as is always the case when extensive sexual advice is offered, advice on “safe abortion” follows.

This presentation served as a backdrop for a joint statement from the several U.N. organizations making up the U.N. Adolescent Girls Task Force. The task force declares its support for programs “that empower . . . adolescent girls, particularly those aged 10 to 14 years.” No innocence preserved.

At this point, the United Nations could hardly surprise me much, but the Girl Scouts continue to greatly disappoint. About a decade ago, I wrote a piece for National Review called “The Cookie Crumbles” about things that might surprise moms and dads helping their daughters work on Brownie badges. While the Boy Scouts have been under attack by politically correct watchdogs, the Girl Scouts have escaped censure by embracing leftist politics, reproductive permissiveness, and secularism. Their path to doing sex-prep work for the U.N. has been a long slide.

The Girl Scouts aren’t shy about the causes they embrace. A 2008 post-election survey of girls and boys between 13 and 17 initiated by the Girl Scouts’ think tank, the Girl Scout Research Institute, found overwhelming support for President-elect Barack Obama and noted concern for a laundry list of international and domestic issues, including the war in Iraq, the economy, and “the difficulties women face in reaching leadership positions in our country.”

I don’t mind an arm of the Girl Scouts gathering information. But I do mind a group we associate with Tagalongs, tying knots, and basic life skills — in other words, with protecting the innocence of children in an otherwise hyper-sexualized and politically fraught culture — doing exactly the opposite. I mind leftist activists at their national conventions. I mind faux empowerment laced with the persistent whine of victimization.

Your local Girl Scout troop may be run by traditional God-fearing women who want nothing to do with radical Planned Parenthood seminars, but you should know what’s going on at the top. And if you are looking for alternatives, they’re out there. In recent years I’ve encountered the American Heritage Girls, established by a Cincinnati-based former Girl Scout troop leader, which seeks to “build women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.” And in a country known for entrepreneurship, I have no doubt that a few sensible moms could start their own skill-building groups far away from the likes of the United Nations and Planned Parenthood, groups that would to allow girls to just be girls.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. She can be reached at klopez@nationalreview.com.

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