A part of every Thin Mint and Do-Si-Do, every Samoa and Savannah Smile goes to support abortion advocacy. So say John Pisciotta, who runs a tiny pro-life organization in Waco, Texas, and a dozen national pro-life organizations he has convinced to join him in a national boycott of Girl Scout cookies that will be announced in Texas tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, the Girl Scouts designated Wendy Davis as an “incredible woman” who deserved to be on the list of 2013 “Women of the Year.” Only a month earlier, the organization promoted Kathleen Sebelius as a woman of “courage” on its Facebook page.
Davis is not known for much more than exaggerating her life story and for her filibuster of a pro-life bill in the Texas legislature. Her critics point out that the bill she filibustered was one that limited abortions after viability.
Kathleen Sebelius has been the bête noir of the pro-life movement for her role in Obamacare and mandating abortion coverage even for religious entities, what some Catholic bishops have called the largest expansion of abortion in the country since Roe v. Wade.
All this was too much for Pisciotta, who will ask families across America not to participate in the Girl Scouts’ fundraising through cookie sales.
Pisciotta told Breitbart News, “The Girl Scouts were once a truly amazing organization, but it has been taken over by ideologues of the left, and regular folks just will not stand for it. Anyone who cares about this ought to go to www.cookiecott.com and find out why.”
Pisciotta says people should look closely at where the money goes from these sales. The Girl Scouts claims that 100% of cookie revenue stays with the regional councils, with a portion going to the local troop, and that the national office receives no revenue from cookie sales. However, Girl Scouts USA receives millions in licensing fees for every box sold, money that contributes substantially to its enormous budget.
Ann Saladin, who runs MyGirlScoutCouncil.com, points out that even the regional councils, and therefore much of the cookie money, are directly implicated in abortion advocacy. Her website lists all the local councils with abortion troubles.
The Girl Scouts also claims that no cookie money goes to any other group. However, Girl Scouts USA makes an annual donation of $1.5 million to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, a group on record as supporting reproductive health and rights for its members.
There is a quixotic aspect to Pisciotta’s fight. Pro-Life Waco is hardly a match for the Girl Scouts. Guidestar, the online tracker of non-profit organizations, doesn’t even list a tax filing for his organization because his group never raises more than the $50,000 annual minimum that requires tax filings. Pisciotta is a volunteer, as are all the rest who work there.
On the other hand, the national office of the Girl Scouts raised more than $100 million last year. This does not include $700 million in cookie sales. Pisciotta’s group can’t even compete with the Girl Scout Council of San Jacinto, which raised more than $15 million last year.
The Girl Scouts is fighting back against its detractors. Just yesterday, Ann Saladin received a threatening email from a Girl Scout attorney threatening legal action if she persisted in using the Girl Scout logo on MyGirlScoutCouncil.com. “We demand that your organization immediately cease using the Girl Scouts® logo on your flyers. We would appreciate receiving your assurances by return mail, email, or fax on or before February 7, 2014 that you will comply with our demand,” wrote Brian Crawford of the Girl Scouts.
Even so, Pisciotta believes he can have an effect. After all, he’s been here before.
In 2003 Pisciotta ran what started as a local boycott after the local Girl Scout Council sponsored a controversial conference with Planned Parenthood called Nobody’s Fool, at which a booklet was offered to young children that included, among other things, a boy masturbating, a drawing of a boy standing at a school chalk board looking at the bulge in his pants, a naked woman straddling a man, and more. The local council also named the CEO of Planned Parenthood-Waco as a Woman of Distinction.
That campaign put Pisciotta and his allies on local and national television and caused Girl Scouts USA CEO Kathy Cloninger to go on the Today Show to try to cauterize the wound. It was on that program, however, that Cloninger admitted that the Girl Scouts works with Planned Parenthood groups around the country, a statement that has bedeviled the Girl Scouts since then.
After that boycott, a veritable cottage industry of Girl Scout reform and opposition groups has sprung up around the country including MyGirlScoutCouncil.com, 100questionsfortheGirlScouts.com, SpeakNowGirlScouts.com, GirlScoutsWhyNot.com, and even a Facebook page called “Make The Girl Scouts Clean Again.”
Since that time, the Girl Scouts has been on a remarkable slide. Its membership is down 7% from 2.8 million members to 2.2 million. It has had to consolidate councils from 312 to 112. From 2007 to 2011, donations dropped 29% from $148 million to $104 million, and a once $150 million in the black pension fund is now $347 million in the red.
The Girl Scouts organization has shown sensitivity to the political and humanitarian concerns of its members. According to the Girl Scout FAQ page, the cocoa used in the cookies is “conflict free,” and no cookie can be made with genetically modified crops. It even promises its cookies are made with “corporate sustainability” and “social responsibility” in mind.
When it comes to pro-life concerns, however, the Girl Scouts lines up opposite the wishes of millions of former Girl Scout members who have walked away over that issue in recent years.