The Great Girl Scouts Insurrection

Illustration for article titled The Great Girl Scouts Insurrection

The Girl Scouts of America finds itself under attack from two different sets of teenage girls. On one front: Abortion. On another: Palm oil in cookies. Welcome to America.

The Wall Street Journal gives ink today to the crusade of Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, two teenagers whom the Girl Scouts celebrated for their activism around orangutans. Unfortunately for the girls' consciences (and taste buds), delicious Girl Scouts cookies are made with palm oil, which threatens the orangutans' habitat.

The Girl Scouts' product manager insists that palm oil is the only "sturdy" alternative to transfats. "Both of us were disheartened and upset," Vorva told The Journal. "But we also felt empowered that we could do something to change it." The girls now have the support of various environmental groups who are urging wider action to push the Girls Scouts to banish palm oil from their cookie boxes.


Meanwhile, two Texas teenagers who have started a website lambasting the Girl Scouts have been embraced by a different set of interests groups: anti-choicers including the Concerned Women of America and the Family Research Council. Sydney and Tess Volanski, two young sisters (one is in eighth grade and another is a freshman in high school) who are active in the pro-life movement.

Officially, Girl Scouts USA takes no position on abortion, but the girls were horrified to learn that Scouts work with Planned Parenthood and participated in a workshop at the United Nations "involving a very offensive Planned Parenthood brochure."

It was difficult to accept that this corrupt behavior was of Girl Scouts, whom we both trusted and honored, but after communicating directly with witness, Sharon Slater, and seeing the post on the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) website advocating for "affordable, accessible, safe abortion", it was clear to us that Girl Scouts was far from trustworthy or honorable and that we wouldn't, couldn't, support the group in name or financially any longer.

That brochure, by the way, was one published by the International Planned Parenthood Federation called "Healthy, Happy And Hot," a guide to rights and sexual health for young people living with HIV. It includes such shocking things as "This guide is here to support your sexual pleasure and health, and to help you develop strong intimate relationships. It explores how your human rights and sexual well-being are related and suggests strategies to help you make decisions about dating, relationships, sex and parenthood." The girls were also horrified by the implicit endorsement of reproductive rights as seen here.

"We had to ask ourselves: Will we stand for our beliefs, for the dignity of life, the sanctity of marriage, modesty, purity?" they write. "Or will we remain true to Girl Scouts? We cannot see any way to truly do both." The Family Research Council is urging teens to quit the Girl Scouts and join the right-wing alternative, American Heritage Girls.


Update: A reader points out that much of the Texas girls' fodder comes from this site devoted to linking Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts. Best of all is the handy right-rail guide to their enemies' terminology, including the fact-free ""Emergency contraception" = abortion."

Cookie Crumbles For Girl Scouts [WSJ]
New Pro-Life Site Links Girl Scouts With Planned Parenthood [Life News]
Speak Now, Girl Scouts [Official Site]

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I didn't know that about Palm Oil, all I knew is that it isn't so great for the body and is hard to metabolize. Now that I know it is also bad for orangutans (and I'm sure by extension, many other animals), I'll have to be more diligent.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.