Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 15, 2014

Fact Check: Girl Scouts not idolizing pro-abortion icons

By PolitiFact.com

Think twice about buying Girl Scout cookies, a national group urges, because participating girls are taught to admire “pro-abortion women.”

A reader told us she fielded a Feb. 4, 2014, e-mail blast with that message signed by Judie Brown, president of the Virginia-based American Life League.

One of the blast’s claims: The Girl Scouts of the USA “curriculum now promotes Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, Betty Friedan, founder of NARAL Prochoice, and other pro-abortion women as icons for our children to emulate.”

According to a biographical sketch posted online by Harvard University, Sanger was a nurse and lecturer who opened the country’s first birth-control clinic and later founded the American Birth Control League (which was renamed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942).

Friedan, according to another Harvard web page, famously authored “The Feminine Mystique,” published in 1963, which “fueled the controversy over women’s proper place in society and had a dramatic impact on women in the United States and abroad. Friedan quickly became the leading advocate for change in the status of women.”

In 1966, Friedan helped found the National Organization for Women (NOW), a civil rights organization for women, serving as its first president, according to the web page, and later was vice president of the National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws and also on a Girl Scouts USA board.

By telephone and e-mail, Paul Rondeau, the league’s executive director, credited a former Girl Scouts troop leader, Christy Volanski, with the research behind the claim. The league calls itself the largest grass-roots Catholic pro-life organization in the nation.

Let’s take the Girl Scouts’ “promotion” of Sanger and Friedan one by one.

Margaret Sanger

Rondeau told us that after the group sent its e-mail blast, Volanski made it clear that the Girl Scouts’ “promotion” of Sanger was not directly in the scouts’ curriculum; instead, that occurred via social media.

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