May 14, 2012 — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently sent an official inquiry to the Girl Scouts requesting information on programs and materials that some religious conservatives claim promote contraception and abortion, the Washington Post reports.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., who is leading the investigation, sent a letter to Girl Scout leaders stating that "important questions still remain and need to be examined," but it did not mention any specific issues (Morello, Washington Post, 5/10). The letter stated that the inquiry will focus on "possible problematic relationships" and "problematic" materials used by the organization (AP/New York Times, 5/11).
Girl Scouts officials have stated repeatedly that the organization does not partner with Planned Parenthood or take positions on sexuality, birth control or abortion. Critics also have chastised the group for using materials that contain links to Doctors Without Borders, the Sierra Club and Oxfam because the groups support family planning and emergency contraception.
About one-quarter of the Girl Scouts' 2.3 million youth members in the U.S. are Catholic, the group estimates. In addition, many troops are sponsored by Catholic parishes (Crary, AP/Yahoo News, 5/10).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership