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Why Have Catholic Bishops Launched an Inquiry into the Girl Scouts?

Paul Morigi, Getty Images

When you think of Girl Scouts, you probably think of their iconic green uniforms and annual cookie sales.

But an inquiry launched by a group of Catholic bishops accuses the organization of “possible problematic relationships with other organizations” — specifically, Planned Parenthood.

The Girl Scouts of the USA, which celebrates its 100th anniversary is this year, is the target of an investigation by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops over concerns about “program materials” that some Catholics find offensive. The bishops also claim the “Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching.”

For its part, the Girl Scouts deny the allegations, saying they don’t take official positions on sexuality, birth control and abortion and have no partnership with Planned Parenthood.

“It’s been hard to get the message out there as to what is true when distortions get repeated over and over,” said Gladys Padro-Soler, the Girl Scouts’ director of inclusive membership strategies.

Girl Scouts’ spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins said, “I know we’re a big part of the culture wars. People use our good name to advance their own agenda.”

“For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it,” she added. “We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”


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