We receive e-mails and telephone calls from our constituents about the "conspiracy between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood." So, let's talk about Planned Parenthood. This topic takes up a lot of valuable staff time - usually because staff must explain our position on this subject to a volunteer who is going to quit because of Girl Scouts' supposed relationship with Planned Parenthood. Let me state clearly that WE DON'T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD!
GSSA's policy about sensitive issues of varying types can be found here. We have a very conservative posture with respect to issues that we believe would best be discussed in the home or faith community. GSSA, like each Girl Scout council in the United States, is its own separate entity. Although we receive our charter from GSUSA, we have our own board of directors, elected by the members that represent our geographic area. Our board of directors dictates policy for GSSA; just as board of directors of other Girl Scout councils shape their policies. Our policy may well differ from the policies of other Girl Scout councils.
GSUSA has stated they do not support Planned Parenthood. Although there have been assertions by others to the contrary, their statement is they do not support it, financially or otherwise.
I have been fortunate enough to travel in many parts of the world. I have been to Kenya twice, where AIDS is very prevalent. It is at epidemic proportions because boys moving into puberty are encouraged to do something similar to a vision quest where they move into manhood. Part of that is to have a sexual experience. These experiences are often with girls of their own age. This is not part of our culture; we have a hard time understanding why parents would allow this to happen. But this is the Kenyan culture. WAGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts of which Girl Scouts of the USA is a member, speaks out about issues, such as this, that impact girls.
Sometimes we view an organization like WAGGS through the lens of our culture and our way of life. Frankly, I would not want my daughter to be part of what a girl might experience in Kenya, so I would speak out about that. WAGGS does address a myriad of issues that we don't confront in the United States and sometimes cannot comprehend. WAGGS is much like the United Nations for girls. Many of the issues they take up are cultural in nature and issues that impact girls' lives. To that end, they do speak out on issues to protect and defend girls around the world.
As we teach our girls to DISCOVER, CONNECT, and TAKE ACTION, the TAKE ACTION part means we speak out on issues we care about. Some of what I hear about from volunteers in relation to WAGGS are issues, such as AIDS or cutting that we should care about for the girls of the world.
Here in Southern Alabama, we have our own culture and ways that we address concerns. We feel that issues regarding sexuality are best addressed in the home, NOT through Girl Scouting. GSSA is NOT in partnership with Planned Parenthood or any such organization, nor do we plan to do so in the future.