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Girl Scouts not linked to Planned Parenthood or politicians
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• Girl Scouts of the USA has no relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood, and has not endorsed any person or organization.
Girl Scout cookies mean different things to different people — from entrepreneurial skills for the girls who sell them to tasty treats for those who buy them. But one social media post makes the false claim that the popular pastries represent controversy.
A Feb. 4 post on Facebook says Girl Scouts support "Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians." It shows the Planned Parenthood logo superimposed on a Trefoil cookie, which normally has the Girl Scouts’ logo.
"Our family will not be buying Girl Scout cookies this year," the post reads. "Until the Girl Scouts stop supporting Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians, this pro-life family won’t be buying their cookies." It ends with the hashtag #cookiecott, and has the name "Pro-Life Action League" at the bottom.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The claims are unfounded. Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood, according to its website. The national organization also has not endorsed any person or organization, according to the website for Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas.
Most of the misinformation about the organization originated in Texas, some of it nearly two decades ago.
One part of the claim dates to 2004 and is centered on one Girl Scout council — the organization's term for groups that develop and manage scouting in a geographic region — in Texas. The Waco-area council had put its name and logo on Planned Parenthood brochures that advertised sex-education programs, and also had given a "woman of distinction" award to a Planned Parenthood executive.
The council did not contribute money or send children to the sex-ed program, which never mentioned abortion, the Associated Press reported at the time.
A Waco anti-abortion group ran advertisements alleging a "cozy relationship" between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood and urging a Girl Scout cookie boycott, according to the AP. After the ad campaign began, the Girl Scout council said it would no longer be affiliated with the sex-ed program.
During a "Today" show segment about the issue, comments from Kathy Cloninger, who was chief executive of the national Girl Scouts at the time, seemed to muddy the waters. She said the Girl Scouts "tackle the issues of human sexuality and body image and all of the things that girls are facing. And we partner with many organizations. We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls."
The Girls Scouts’ official stance, then and now, is that the organization does not take a position on or develop materials about human sexuality, birth control and abortion.
The issue roared back to life a decade later in 2014, when the national Girl Scouts organization shared stories on its social media accounts from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post about women who made a difference in 2013. One of the stories featured Wendy Davis, who delayed an abortion bill through filibuster, and the other included then-Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights.
"And that was all it took," the Daily Beast reported at the time. "The Girl Scouts made no formal endorsement of either Davis or Sebelius, let alone their politics. But sharing lists that feature those two women set off CookieCott 2014."
The Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas website says the sharing of the article "was not to endorse any of the women featured, but to highlight the source's acknowledgement of women who made a mark in 2013."
That’s also when Pro-Life Action League, a Chicago-based group whose name is on the image in this Facebook post, got involved in the cookie boycott.
A Facebook post says Girl Scouts support "Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians."
Girl Scouts of the USA has no relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood, and has not endorsed any person or organization.
Nearly two decades ago, a single Girl Scout council in Texas put its name and logo on a Planned Parenthood brochure for a sex-ed program that did not have anything to do with clinical services such as abortion. The council later terminated its affiliation with the sex-ed program.
Then, in 2014, the national Girl Scouts organization shared news stories on its social media accounts about women who made a difference in 2013. Those stories — written by news organizations, not by the Girl Scouts — included some politicians who support abortion rights. The Girl Scouts said sharing the stories did not represent an endorsement of any person.
We rate this claim False.
Associated Press, "Girl Scout cookies, and troops, crumble in Texas," March 4, 2004
Daily Beast, "The Mothers Behind The Girl Scout Cookie Boycott," Feb. 7, 2014
Facebook post, Feb. 4, 2022
Girl Scouts, "Meet the Cookies," accessed Feb. 10, 2022
Girl Scouts, "Social Issues FAQ," accessed Feb. 10, 2022
Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, "What we stand for," accessed Feb. 10, 2022
Pro-Life Action League, "LEAGUE JOINS NATIONAL BOYCOTT OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES," Jan. 30, 2014
The Texas Tribune, "Waco Anti-Abortion Group Calls for Boycott of Girl Scout Cookies," Jan. 31, 2014
USA Girl Scouts Overseas, "Girl Scout Lingo - What Does it Mean?" May 29, 2021
YouTube, Pro-Life Waco. "Video Today Show," March 4, 2004
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