Girl Scouts Targeted by the Pro-Life Movement

As stated in a previous blog post or two, one of our local pro-life protesters (dubbed the “Dicktator”) has a Facebook page that he uses to spout aggressive gospel and pro-life messages. His posts about protesting at my clinic intrigue me, but so do his other posts. It’s especially entertaining when someone has the balls to question his posts and if he’s truly in the faith instead of blindly agreeing with him and automatically typing in an “Amen!” in the comment section.

I probably shouldn’t look, but can’t help myself much like a moth to a flame or Otep Shamaya to the YouTube comment section of her music video for “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts”.

Most of his posts are repeating the same nonsense about inaccurate abortion statistics and criticisms about “lukewarm Christians” (despite probably being one himself). But every once in a while he’ll post something so off the wall that I have to wonder if he’s smoking meth.

The latest bat shit crazy post: Girl Scouts have ties to Planned Parenthood.

It reads:

The Girl Scouts have declined a whopping 30% since 2003 because of their ties to Planned Parenthood. This is because many Christian families are removing their children from the Girls Scouts because of the conflict in interest in being children of God and associated with the biggest mass executioner of innocent children (http://www.conservativenews.com/…/christians-ditch-girl-sco…).

Not only has the Girl Scouts allowed Planned Parenthood to have an influence on our young daughters and grand-daughters, they also have included programs to teach them sexually (https://concernedwomen.org/girls-scouts-under-fire-for-pla…/).

Thankfully, there is a Christian alternative for parents who are GENUINELY Christian and would like to protect their children from these predators- the American Heritage Girls! Please let me know if you would like a local contact information or look up the American Heritage Girls (https://www.americanheritagegirls.org/) for more information.

Please remember that our most important job as parents is to protect our children. With 70% of children being born into the Christian faith falling completely away from it by the time they graduate from high school (90% by the time they graduate from college!), it is a travesty. Don’t think that YOUR FAMILY is the exception!

We have a VERY SHORT period of influence to teach our children and we will be accountable to it to God. Please do not waste the time you have serving yourself.

GirlScout
Screenshot of Facebook post for reference. 

My immediate thought was, “What in the actual fuck? They’re targeting Girl Scouts now?!” because Girl Scouts being somehow tied Planned Parenthood seemed ridiculous. Though, to be honest, I personally  wouldn’t mind if I found out the insane amount of money I spend on Caramel DeLites every spring did go towards women healthcare. If I learned anything over the past year, its not to trust information that pro-life activists like the Dicktator presents. Usually their information is inaccurate or there’s more to the story that they’re not telling. A connection between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood is no exception.

The first article he posted, “Christians Ditch Girl Scout’s Over Planned Parenthood Ties”, is where he got the numbers about the 30% drop in Girl Scout membership, which was based on a report done by The Associated Press. The article does acknowledge that the report doesn’t state how much of this decline is due to the perceived tie to Planned Parenthood, but makes every effort to try and convince such a tie is the sole reason for the decline in membership. The vast majority of the embedded links are from LifeNews, a pro-life news website. I don’t generally trust pro-life news websites because of the deceptive nature of the pro-life movement. My high school English classes have taught me its not wise to have all your references from one source. As an example for this case, it would be like writing an article on Japan and using “Memoirs of a Geisha” as reference.

How did Girl Scouts become associated with Planned Parenthood in the first place?

In 2004, a pro-life group in Texas launched a boycott against Girl Scout cookies when it was discovered that Waco Blue Bonnet Council of Girl Scouts had sponsored Nobody’s Fool for years. Hosted by Planned Parenthood, Nobody’s Fool was an annual one-day workshop aimed at teaching preteens and teenagers in grades 5 through 9 about sex education. More fuel was added to the fire in 2010 after the Girl Scouts attended the 54th Commission on the Status of Women and held a Girl Scout Only workshop about the global issues affecting girls. As the Dicktator’s second article link details, Sharon Slater of Family Watch International claims that the Girl Scouts distributed a International Planned Parenthood Federation brochure on HIV sex, health, and reproductive rights at their panel, which she was not present for. The Girl Scouts have denied they distributed such a pamphlet and there been no evidence that they actually did.

The Girl Scouts stance on sexuality, birth control, and abortion is “Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.” They also state they have no partnership or relationship with Planned Parenthood while Planned Parenthood has stated they don’t have any official relationship with the Girl Scouts.

Local chapters are allowed to partner with local organizations of their choice as was the case with the Waco Blue Bonnet Council of Girl Scouts. Still, even if an individual troop was indeed able to send cookie profits to a local Planned Parenthood, such a donation wouldn’t be used to fund abortions. Women have to pay out of their own pocket in order to receive abortion services. Instead, the money would go towards expenses and services in order to continue providing reproductive healthcare services—birth control, screenings, treatments, etc.—to low income women for free or cheaply. Then again, it wouldn’t be surprising if pro-life groups found fault with providing funds for birth control and reproductive healthcare due to some bullshit belief that such things promote promiscuity.

Despite the inflammatory and inaccurate statements pro-life advocates make about Girl Scouts being associated with Planned Parenthood, it’s unlikely it’s one of the main reasons for the decline in membership. Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts, believed that the decline was attributed to more parents and families—including single parents—being financially unstable and having little time to be able to be involved with extracurricular activities. Another problem the organization faces is a lack of volunteers. In some regions, interested girls who wanted to join have been turned away or put on waiting lists due to a lack of volunteers. The organization faced difficulties in 2013 that included a deficit-strapped pension plan, rifts over the direction of Girl Scouts programming, and revenue shortfalls that lead to about a quarter of the staff being trimmed.

The only real truth in all of this is that pro-life groups lost their collective shit over a single Girl Scout troop sponsoring a sex education workshop hosted by Planned Parenthood. Its not surprising as these groups try to demonize anything associated with Planned Parenthood or similar clinics. The Girl Scouts being tied to Planned Parenthood is nothing more than pro-life propaganda spread by those that are so ignorant and gullible they’ll believe anything the pro-life movement puts out.

Billboards or Help? Pt. 2

In my post Billboards or Help?, I wondered if the Pastor had something to do with the newly erected Wisconsin Life to Right anti-abortion billboard. I’m even more convinced he did have involvement with it as I recently found he’s the chairperson for the Wisconsin Right to Life’s Jackson County chapter.

This speculation came from the fact his church had sponsored TWO anti-abortion billboards in 2013. I incorrectly stated these billboards were from the Wisconsin Right to Life when in fact they’re from Pro-Life Across America. I apologize for the error and made a correction note in the post.

church-billboard

In my original post, I wondered how much one of these billboards would cost. While researching a little about this Prolife Across America, a pro-life Christian group that just deals with anti-abortion advertising, I actually did find some average costs for these billboards. According to their FAQS,  “The average cost of a billboard is $500 to $3000 per month – depending upon the size of the billboard and the number of people who will see the ad on a frequent basis (artwork and production costs not included).”

Assuming these numbers could apply to billboard erected in a small town area, the Pastor’s church could have paid $12,000-$72,000 for both billboards. I’m assuming the costs were on the lower end of the price range. Still, even the cheapest amount is a LOT of money.

For arguments sake, let’s assume the two billboards cost the lowest amount of $12,000. What could have $12,000 paid for besides an expensive billboard?

I suggested money that goes to one of these billboards could have been better invested in women’s health clinics that help to reduce unintended pregnancies. With $12,000, Essential Health could have provided one of the following:

*A year’s worth of oral contraceptives to 240 women.

*160,000 condoms. Every individual who came to Essential Health for medical care in 2015 could have received 32 condoms.

*An IUD, which offers up to ten years of pregnancy prevention, to 24 women.

*48 comprehensive sexual education presentations

These pro-life groups are so concerned about saving babies yet hardly (if any) of their efforts go into things that would help women take care of their babies if they decide not to have an abortion. Baby Center’s “First Year Baby Costs Calculator” roughly estimates that to raise a baby through the first year costs $10,398. This is including “moderately priced” regular daycare for six months. If regular childcare isn’t needed, this cost goes down to $5,790. Instead of paying for an expensive anti-abortion billboard, the money could have paid for ALL the costs of one baby for the first year (two babies if daycare is not needed) and still have money leftover. 

$12,000 could have provided one of the following (based off Walmart.com prices and no taxes included):

*480 cans of 1.4lb Similac formula ($24.98 a can). Assuming a baby goes through about a can a week, this would provide 20 babies with six months worth of formula.

*20,512 4oz tubs of Gerber baby food (2pk for $1.17). Assuming a baby on solid food eats 3 times a day, this would provide 37 babies with six months worth of baby food.

*254 boxes of Pampers 252pk diapers ($47.19 a box). I’ve read a baby goes through 3,000 diapers in a year (give or take) so this would provide a year’s worth of diapers to 21 babies.

What would have been the best way to use that sort of money in order to help or save lives?

Two anti-abortion billboards that may have zero effect on some people or guaranteeing that at least 20 babies get enough formula and solid food to be fed for an entire year?

Two anti-abortion billboards that may have zero effect on some people or covering the costs of contraceptives for 24-240 women so that they are much less likely to be in the situation of having an unintended pregnancy that may end in abortion?

The answer should be obvious especially to those who claim they are there to help those in need. But, as I stated in the original post, that would require pro-lifers to get their heads out of their Bibles so they can use their brain and think of ways to reduce abortion rates that doesn’t involve guilt, deception, religion, or laws that stomp all over women’s reproductive rights. It also would require a sense of actually giving a damn about the babies they “save from the abortion mills” once they are out of the womb.

Should pro-life crusaders have to adopt?

On the pro-choice side of the abortion argument, I have often heard comments about how pro-life protesters should have to adopt all the unwanted babies they convinced women not to abort. I initially thought the same when I first became a reproductive rights activist and saw one of the protesters with a sign that said “Adoption is the Loving Option”. I mean, how can you claim to be an advocate for life and tell women to put their unwanted babies up for adoption when you won’t adopt any babies yourself?

To be fair, plenty of pro-life advocates have adopted or fostered children. But that’s beside the point I’ll be making.

Being pro-choice, in my opinion, means believing that women should be able to decide for themselves what they feel is right for them in regards to pregnancy, parenting, and birth control. That also means acknowledging that what feels right for me is not the answer for all women.

The pro-life view is the polar opposite with advocates telling women what they believe is best for all women regardless of each woman’s situation or what she wants. They tell pregnant women that their only option should be to give birth and some even go as far as to tell non-pregnant women to keep their legs closed unless they are willing to carry a child to term.

In this regard, I realized thinking that people that push a pro-life view onto women should have to adopt or foster children would diminish my pro-choice view. It seems hypocritical to believe that a woman shouldn’t be forced to carry a pregnancy she doesn’t want while also believing that people who are crusading against abortion should be forced to take in children. How can you be about having choices and then believe your opponents should be forced into a choice? If being pro-choice means acknowledging that one choice isn’t right for everyone then we should acknowledge that adoption or foster parenting isn’t right for everyone, including those who protest outside abortion providers claiming to stand for life.

Of course, they could be adopting and fostering children. Just as they could stop badgering women outside of clinics and focus their efforts into things that would help provide for the children resulting from unintended pregnancies. I would encourage these pro-life advocates to do those things if they truly care about the well-being of children they’re trying to save. I don’t, however, think it should be a requirement of them to take in children in order to push their pro-life view onto others, even if I don’t agree with what they do.

Billboards or Help?

15909475_10154246888580840_910851475_n

Next to the new Arby’s building that sits on the other side of the Walmart parking lot is this newly erected eyesore of a billboard. As if we didn’t have enough of these damned anti-abortion propaganda billboards from Wisconsin Right to Life around the outskirts of town. I must admit my automatic response upon seeing it was letting out a disgruntled shriek with some obscenities and a middle finger before I could form any legible words that expressed how I felt about it.

There’s a part of me that wonders if the Pastor’s church helped to fund this anti-abortion billboard like they did in 2013 when they paid for TWO of the Wisconsin Right to Life billboards. But mostly, I wonder about the money.

I’m not an expert in the cost of billboard advertisements and I know we’re a smaller resort-type town, but this couldn’t have been cheap. It seems like it would be a prime location with it being a short distance from the downtown area, right next to a Walmart, near the gas stations and fast food restaurants, and on the way to the interstate exit, casino, and the hotels. Better location = more expensive.

Where does the money to put up these damned billboards come from?

How much was paid to put this up?

Did it cost hundreds or thousands of dollars?

Could that money been put to better use?

Maybe instead of plastering abortion statistics or their twisted versions of fetal development facts on giant advertising displays in attempt to shame people about abortion, they could be putting that money towards things that would actually be beneficial to their cause and the women they claim they want to help.

Their advertising might guilt some pregnant women into not getting an abortion, but it doesn’t make the problems women—particularly low income or single women—face during pregnancy or once the baby is born disappear. Perhaps the money could be put into programs that provide assistance to low income and single mothers. It would likely help reduce abortion rates as there are women who would carry their pregnancies to term if they felt they were financially stable enough to take care of a child. At the very least, it would help to ensure that the babies this group wants to save are provided for. Or is making sure babies have clothes, food, and shelter such a trivial thing to these pro-life advocates? Or do they expect all the underprivileged mothers to give up their babies to middle class couples?

An even better idea would be supporting a women’s clinic so low income women can get contraceptives she wouldn’t be able to afford herself so she can avoid an unintended pregnancy that may end in abortion in the first place. According to Essential Health (the women’s clinic in our town), $50 will provide one woman with a year of oral contraceptives, $75 will provide 1000 condoms, and $500 will give one woman up to 10 years of pregnancy prevention with an IUD. $250 will pay the clinic to give a presentation so that our youth can be educated on sex so they’re less likely to be in the position of an unintended pregnancy.

Oh wait. I forgot. That would require pro-lifers to get their heads out of their Bibles so they can use their brain and think of ways to reduce abortion rates that doesn’t involve guilt, deception, religion, or laws that stomp all over women’s reproductive rights. Or actually giving a shit about the babies they save once they’re out of the womb.

 

CORRECTION: I stated that the billboards around the outskirts of town, including the two the Pastor’s church sponsored in 2013, are from the Wisconsin Right to Life. They’re actually from Pro-Life Across America. I apologize for the error.

Additionally, I recently found the Pastor is the chairperson of the Wisconsin Right to Life chapter for Jackson County. Therefore, I think he had more involvement in getting this eyesore erected than I initially speculated.

Meet the “Protesters”: The Children

Little children with anti-abortion signs began showing up a couple months after this idiotic weekly demonstration outside my clinic began. Personally, I saw it as a guilt trip tactic. What better way to further your belief that abortion is comparable to murdering an actual child than to put a small child behind an anti-abortion sign? The Pastor disagrees that the children are brought to guilt women, but I don’t buy it. He’s explained to me on two separate occasions that a presumably pro-choice woman with a child told him that protesting outside the clinic was wrong and how he pointed to her child before saying something like “Let’s say you wanted abortion. Why not just kill this child instead of getting an abortion? Problem solved.” Course, the woman leaves appalled at what he suggested and he believes his view is right because of the reaction he got out of her. Funny how he says the children they bring to hold signs aren’t meant to shame women, but he’s perfectly fine with using a woman’s own child for his anti-abortion agenda as a means to shame or to rile up her emotions.

The arrival of the children started with a middle aged woman bringing what I assumed were her two granddaughters, who couldn’t have been in the double digits in terms of age. (Maybe 7 years old tops.) Luckily, when the woman stopped showing up to protest so did those two girls.

However, the Dicktator has two daughters of his own and he has them parade around the block whenever he is able.

His youngest is five and insanely adorable. She obviously has zero understanding to the sign she carries or the cards she hands to people. One time, to be nice to her, I did accept one of the cards she was carrying, which was for the alternative birthing center further up on Main Street (In case you’re wondering, the birthing center isn’t some pro-life, funded by anti-abortion Christians sort of place. It’s simply an alternative to giving birth in a hospital.)

The older girl—who I will call “A”—is twelve and seems passionate about fighting against abortion for the Lord. She isn’t like her father, who has been known to be a bit of an asshole towards the women coming into the clinic. In fact, she seems very sweet and kind.

Sometimes the Dicktator has brought two boys around the age of his oldest daughter and they never seemed that enthusiastic about being there. I’ve seen him instructing these boys on how to hold their signs so that everyone can see and scold them for dropping the propaganda cards on the ground.

During the summer when there was no school, the children were coming earlier and staying outside longer. Summers in Wisconsin can be quite brutal and this year was no different with the humidity. Sometimes the children were standing on the west side of the building, which the sun hits during the hot afternoons. I also noticed none of the kids having water to stay hydrated as they were protesting in the heat. It seemed irresponsible of the adults to make these kids stand outside when it was 90 degrees and extremely humid, but it also seemed detrimental to their abortion crusade. They want to tell women not to abort because “abortion kills children” or that abortion is the same as torture and murder…and then make their own children suffer for their cause by standing outside in the blistering heat with no water? Whenever I saw the kids, I would note how many there were and run down to the hardware store a couple blocks away to buy water for them. Usually I’d give the bottles to “A” and ask her to give the rest to the other kids. She always was very gracious and thanked me.  After the first couple times, the Dicktator would passive-aggressively say, “Oh, we have plenty of water.” I noticed he brought water for the kids only after I started bringing water for them. I still gave the water to the kids regardless. I made a point not to buy enough for the fucking moronic adults.

I wished I could have talked to “A” about how she feels protesting like her daddy is actually helping women. It seems whenever the Dicktator caught sight of me near the children he’d swoop in and try starting a chat with me. Maybe he didn’t want the Satanist atheist putting strange ideas into his kids’ heads. In any case, I’d lose the nerve to ask whenever he was around.

“A” did, however, write a letter to the editor and it was published in the August 3, 2016 paper. It reads:

On January 22, 1973, abortion was legalized. Since then, its estimated that more than 58 million innocent children have been murdered, which is seven times the estimated lives than those taken in the Holocaust. The way the abortions are performed is horrific that I cannot state it here. The procedure is so bad; it is worse than how they killed the Jews. This is happening over 3,000 times a day to babies! When you abort a child, you are taking the life, the breath from a human being. All that baby wants is to be loved and wanted by his/her mother. That child has a right to live; that child has a chance to change the world.

There are many famous people that have impacted out life that would never have existed if their mothers would have followed their intentions of abortions. There are also many people that were adopted that would not be here if they were aborted. Abortions kill children! There are lives being wasted away, children helplessly being slaughtered. How would you like it if your mother, the one that you rely on, the one that feeds you and protects you, is the person to take away the one right that you have…life. The baby shouldn’t have to pay for the parent’s bad decisions. That baby is a gift from our Creator, the Author and Giver of life. He loves that baby, He has a plan for the baby and wants the child to follow Him. I was not let this casualty go unnoticed. I will fight against the brutal slaughter of babies. What are you doing to stop this casualty? It is our job to protect the unprotected, the orphans, the fatherless. Proverbs 24:11 says, “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter.” Please, join me in this fight to save lives, to save the future. There are many ways you can stand locally.

If you are pregnant and need help, there are better choices. There are people that want to help you and your baby. Several low income birth centers that do not encourage abortions are ready to help. Please don’t kill your baby. Your baby is a gift from God!

—“A”, 12 years old.

 

When I read her letter, I didn’t feel like I was reading her words. “Over 3,000 times a day”, comparisons to the Holocaust, quoting Proverbs 24:11, and asking people what they’re doing about this “atrocity”: these are all things her father has repeatedly preached. Yet I had this sense that her desire to want to help people was genuine. I felt that her father and the other adults have brainwashed her into thinking that trying to “save babies” by holding a sign was more important than going out there and pro-actively helping living, breathing, actual people.

So I wrote a letter of my own in response:

Alisa Aish’s letter states, “There are people that want to help you and your baby.” There is a difference between wanting to help and being helpful.

According to a recent Banner Journal article, Sam Faust’s reason for being outside the Essential Clinic every Wednesday is to “hold out a lifeline for women in crisis.” When I asked him if there had been “women in crisis” asking for his help in the five months the group has been there, he said not a single woman had. He reasons that perhaps some woman will be in crisis in the future and remember what she saw.

I guess it’s better the protesters believe they’re being of help to women in eventual crisis than to do something proactive that would help those in need right now.

That same article quotes him as saying, “We are a group of concerned people who want women to know that there is hope and we share resources with them.” The resources include cards with incorrect information. One website on the card, AbortionNo.org, lies by saying many contraceptives cause abortions and abortions cause cancer. It also recommends fertility awareness-based birth control methods without mentioning its 24 percent failure rate. The OptionLine.org website was crossed off the cards after my last letter pointed out two-thirds of the clinics it works with in Wisconsin claimed to be similar to Essential Clinic. The confusing thing is the website is supported by AbortionNO, making me question the truthfulness of the information provided by the clinics connected with OptionLine. The group also distributes cards for Apple Pregnancy Care Center, which pro-choice advocates, one pro-life group (Life Chain Milwaukee—Mr. Faust holds signs for them every October), and a few Internet reviews state is a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). CPC’s are fake clinics run by anti-choice groups that have been known to use deception and misinformation to manipulate women into carrying out a pregnancy.

I guess its better for the protesters to misguide people with wrong information and support liars for their cause than to offer anything that would be beneficial to the women they claim to want to help.

The reason the group is outside Essential Clinic every week is because it’s affiliated with Gundersen. They claim to have seen Gundersen’s abortion policy and that the hospital performs elective abortions. A handbook on GundersenHealthPlan.org states, “Abortions when necessary to protect the health or life of the patient or when the pregnancy was the result of sexual assault or incest.”

I guess technically a woman could get an abortion through Gundersen if it’s a risk to her life or after she’s been violated and humiliated.

I’ve done a lot of questioning when it comes to the actions of the anti-abortion protesters and how it’s effectively helping women. But what I don’t question is who is really helping women. It’s not the protesters, but the staff at the clinic. They have accurate, unbiased information on ALL options to help women make an informed decision, offer contraceptives to reduce unintended pregnancies, and help with obtaining assistance and do adoption referrals so children are being taken care of.

I believe Ms. Aish’s intention to help people are genuine. However, I urge her to stop crusading against abortion with the adults and get in contact with non-profit organizations to ask if she can donate money, items, or her time to help those who are really in need.

Because sidewalk counseling isn’t helping anybody.