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.

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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.

Questioning the 13,000+ alternatives to Planned Parenthood claim.

A supporter of mine occasionally comments on pro-life pages and sometimes those posts pop up on my Facebook feed. One such post was a Wisconsin Right to Life post about Tammy Baldwin obstructing pro-life supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The comment section riddled with insults towards Tammy Baldwin like “POS”, “loser”, and “carpet licking skank” is enough to continue wondering if there is a cut-off point on the pro-life value on human life.

Anyways, the post itself eventually led me to realize there is a Facebook page for the Jackson County chapter of the Wisconsin Right to Life. On the Facebook page, I saw this picture explaining there are 7 healthcare clinics in Wisconsin for every Planned Parenthood, which is also on the WRTL’s official website. Supposedly, there are 162 health care clinics in Wisconsin (not including private healthcare providers) so they argue we don’t need Planned Parenthood. Their website claims there are 13,540 comprehensive healthcare clinics nationwide, outnumbering Planned Parenthood 20 to 1. Live Action News states that if funding to Planned Parenthood were eliminated, the money could go towards these healthcare providers.

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162 healthcare providers compared to Planned Parenthood’s 22.

Knowing how pro-life groups use misleading and deceptive tactics, I checked their resources.

The data used for the map graphic focuses on federally qualified healthcare providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid. The problem with this is not all women—even some low income women—qualify for these types of federally or state funded insurance programs.

What would have been more helpful to low income women if somehow the map answered the following questions:

*Do these healthcare providers offer services on a sliding scale or free for women who qualify?

*Will these healthcare providers take in low income women regardless of their ability to pay?

*In the 27 states that offer such a program, do these healthcare providers process Family Planning Waivers so women that are low income yet still make too much to receive government assistance would still be able to have reproductive care and birth control?

For argument’s sake, let’s say we do cut funding to Planned Parenthood and re-direct those funds to these comprehensive healthcare providers. How would it be guaranteed that the healthcare providers would put general healthcare funding like Medicaid towards reproductive healthcare services and birth control?

It’s been pointed out that the data shows ALL federally funded healthcare providers and includes providers that absolutely do not to reproductive healthcare. For example, there is a dot on the map in the area where my town would be. The second website yielded the health care provider that dot is matched to: a dentist. Unless they offer pap smears with their root canals, this is unhelpful as an alternative to Planned Parenthood. Places like dentists, hearing specialists, podiatrists, or dermatologists are certainly NOT alternatives to Planned Parenthood or other women’s reproductive healthcare clinics.

Even if we assume that all 13,540 alternatives to Planned Parenthood did indeed have a certified OB-GYN on staff and offered the same services Planned Parenthood does (sans abortion), pro-life advocates are essentially asking that these healthcare providers take on 2.5 million patients in the event of a Planned Parenthood shutdown. If divided equally, each healthcare provider would have to take on an extra 184 patients just for reproductive healthcare and birth control.  If we take out the providers that don’t offer those services, the number of available healthcare providers decreases while the number of patients the remaining providers would have to take on would increase.  Of course, this in a completely hypothetical and unlikely situation that each healthcare provider would take in an equal portion of new patients. This is still not factoring in women who rely on sliding scales or family planning waivers to be able to obtain reproductive healthcare services.

But my favorite part in all of this was scrolling through the list of Wisconsin rural health care providers that were listed with the map’s first website resource. One healthcare provider stood out for me: Gundersen. Six of its Wisconsin locations were listed (as well as a couple Iowa locations). The reason why this is incredibly absurd is that pro-life groups PROTEST Gundersen.

For those unfamiliar with the local pro-life folklore of mid-western Wisconsin, legend has it that an employee for Gundersen happened to stumble upon a “secret policy” stating Gundersen does elective abortions in secret and went forward with the information to pro-life groups. Despite not being shown a physical copy of the policy, pro-lifers bought it and now regularly picket Gundersen. They also picket Essential Health, an affiliate of Gundersen that provides reproductive healthcare, birth control, and informational resources on pregnancy options. Interestingly enough, the chairman for the Jackson County Right to Life is in charge of the demonstration in front of the Essential Health Clinic in Black River Falls.

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“Better options” include healthcare providers pro-life groups actively picket because of some perceived moral objection to it.

If pro-life groups want to convince women they have “better options”, then maybe they should do some research on those “better options” so they don’t look stupid when someone finds those options include places they are morally objected to.

I’m sure whoever made this just pulled the list of federally qualified healthcare centers, slapped them onto a map, and said “Look! 13,000 healthcare centers!” without researching any of the providers. Or perhaps they realized there would be less of an impact if they removed the providers that don’t offer reproductive healthcare services, aren’t helpful to low income women, or that pro-life groups protest for one reason or another.

The only thing that is certain is that these 13,000+ providers accept Medicare and Medicaid. Beyond that, its a bit questionable.

To the Pro-Life Crusaders: Think before you de-fund

One of my supporters recently commented on a post that ended up popping up on my Facebook feed. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original post, but it was from an anti-abortion group posting a petition against the regulation the Obama administration issued that would prevent state law makers from cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood or other clinics. The rule hasn’t gone into effect (yet), but it has already received outrage from pro-life advocates demanding that Trump reverse it once he’s sworn into office. The petition claims Planned Parenthood performs 323,000 abortions per year and half a billion of our tax dollars goes into funding abortions while the group posting the petition called Obama’s regulation protecting Planned Parenthood funds a “pro-abortion move”. Comments from pro-life Facebook users wished to defund Planned Parenthood and stop our tax dollars from being used to fund “the murder of children”.

But fear not, oh, Mighty Crusaders for the Unborn! Your tax dollars aren’t funding the slaughter of the precious little gifts from your God thanks to a piece of legislature known as the Hyde Amendment.

The original Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976, three years after Roe v. Wade. Its purpose is to bar federal funds from being used to pay for elective abortions. Current versions of the law were written to include two exceptions: when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and when a pregnancy risks death of the mother.

Technically your tax dollars could be paying for the small percentage of abortions for women who are likely to die from their pregnancy and women who were raped. Yet these are exceptions pro-life advocates have made in regards to abortion. While the pro-life group is divided on rape and incest, most pro-lifers seem to agree that terminating a pregnancy is perfectly acceptable if medically necessary to save the mother’s life.

Unless a woman falls under these specific circumstances, a woman wishing to get an abortion has to pay out of her own pocket. So relax, Mighty Crusaders! Your tax dollars aren’t funding abortions for the women you view as irresponsible whores who don’t want to be inconvenienced with God’s gift of child birth.

However, your tax dollars are being put into family planning funding programs like Title X, which is the federal funding Obama’s regulation is protecting from being cut from places like Planned Parenthood.

Enacted by Richard Nixon in 1970, Title X helps provide low income and the uninsured with access to family planning and preventive health services. Title X’s own rules on how it can be used strictly forbid Title X funding from being used to pay for abortions. What it does help pay for are services like contraceptives, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings.

Title X and other federal funds designed for family planning pays for these services; not abortions.

What Obama’s regulation would do is require state and local governments to distribute funds for family planning and reproductive health services to qualified health providers regardless of whether they also provide abortions. It doesn’t apply to just Planned Parenthood, though it has been the main focus of the news surrounding this ruling because of it being a major abortion provider in addition to its family planning services. States wouldn’t be able to discriminate against ANY health care provider that receives funds to provide such services to low income or uninsured people.

So, Mighty Crusaders, when you cry out “DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD”, you’re not taking a stand for life by trying to eliminate funds that go towards abortion. The reality is you’re actually suggesting eliminating funds that allow under privileged individuals to obtain reproductive health services and contraceptives they may not be able to afford on their own.

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Cancer screenings, contraceptives, treatments and testing…

Plus, the move may cause more damage to your anti-abortion goals than you realize.

Let’s use my reproductive health clinic as an example. In 2014, it’s estimated that between all its locations, Essential Health Clinic prevented 1,200 unintended pregnancies. Statically, about 400 of those unintended pregnancies would have been terminated had they not been prevented.

Let that sink in for a moment: 400 abortions were potentially avoided because seven women’s clinic locations in rural mid-western Wisconsin offered contraceptives to thanks to federal funding like Title X.

Now put that on a national scale. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that in that same year (2014) publicly funded family planning services from all sources (including safety-net centers and private doctors who accept Medicaid) helped women to avoid 678,000 abortions that year. Services provided at Title X supported centers alone like Essential Health helped prevent an estimated 326,000 of those abortions.

In addition, family planning funding like Title X is helping to save tax dollars. In 2010, every dollar invested in publicly funded family planning services saved $7 in Medicaid expenditures that would otherwise have been needed to pay the medical costs of the unintended pregnancies, delivery, and early childhood care.

Furthermore, for 40% of the women who obtained care at a family planning center specializing in the provision of contraceptive care, that center was their only source of healthcare.

Maybe some of you Crusaders are thinking, “We only want to stop funding to just Planned Parenthood because they do abortions.” But would it really end with Planned Parenthood?

Not all Planned Parenthood locations even offer abortion, but pro-lifers want to defund the whole organization. We have anti-abortion protesters outside my clinic because the clinic has abortion information for clients and the protesters have a deep seeded belief that the hospital Essential Health is affiliated with performs elective abortions in secret. Some pro-lifers think certain birth control like the pill and Plan B are abortifacients. Some believe women should wait to have sex until she finds a good man to marry and reproduce with (or being abstinent forever if she doesn’t desire children). Some believe family planning services promote sexual promiscuity that can lead to pregnancies that end in abortion.

So would the Protectors of the Unborn only target places like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions in addition to its family planning and reproductive health services or would they go further? How far would they go with “defunding” campaigns? Would they march beyond the places that double as abortion providers and target the places that don’t perform abortions, but offer information on it as part of its pregnancy counseling? Would they attack places that are affiliated with health care networks they suspected of secretly providing abortions under the radar? Would they continue onward to places that offer birth control they believe—not facts or medical studies—cause abortions? Would they go further than that and focus on clinics that they think for one reason or another are promoting a sexual lifestyle that defies a traditional, Christian marriage?

It seems extreme, but conservative pro-life law makers have been continually chipping away at reproductive rights for years with laws that restrict access to abortion for women or force providers to shut down, gutting state family planning funding for reproductive health clinics, allowing religious employers to deny birth control coverage in its insurance, attempting to dismantle Title X funding, and funneling millions of tax dollars into the deceptive faith-based crisis pregnancy centers that give misinformation and scare tactics to women seeking help with their pregnancies. It doesn’t seem like that much of a long shot that pro-life advocates would continue fighting until women don’t have much of a choice in their reproductive health and family planning clinics are nothing more than glorified crisis pregnancy centers telling women their only options are giving birth and keeping her legs closed until she finds a husband to procreate with because that what God wants.

Obama’s regulation may help to prevent pro-life groups from rallying behind pro-life conservative law makers and cutting funding to women’s health clinics that didn’t meet their demands.

It makes sense that one of the final regulations put forth by Obama administration would prevent family planning clinics from getting their funding cut. The Republicans, a party not seen as being for women’s rights, will officially have control of both sides of Congress and the White House come January 20th when Trump is sworn into office. The new Congress is already sworn in and immediately Republicans stated plans to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare. Trump’s administration has already made promises to continue the Republican tradition of trampling all over women’s reproductive rights. Future VP Mike Pence, who signed every anti-abortion law to come across his desk while governor and poured money into an anti-abortion group, stated that the Trump presidency would work to reverse the birth control mandate requiring insurance companies to provide birth control in their coverage. Trump himself has expressed plans to defund Planned Parenthood and electing Supreme Court Justices that would turn over Roe v. Wade.

Obama seems to be doing what he can while he’s still president before the Republicans stage their full frontal attack on reproductive rights on behalf of pro-life groups. Because pro-life advocates refuse to see how cutting funding to family planning centers like Planned Parenthood could have serious ramifications. They don’t think that abortions and unintended pregnancies would likely increase without access to birth control or that tax dollar spending would increase if there were more babies being born to low income families who need financial assistance in caring for them. They act like they’re for women, but don’t seem to care that lot of women would suddenly be without healthcare when clinics shut down due to funding cuts. To be honest, they’re probably too busy cheering whenever a Planned Parenthood closes or praising God when a low income clinic drastically cuts its hours to notice the women who depend on these places for their contraceptives, exams, and treatments.

When it comes down to it, the campaign to “Defund Planned Parenthood” doesn’t seem very “pro-life” at all since pro-lifers don’t think of the impact it would have on lives.

If the Mighty Crusaders for the Unborn were truly pro-life, they would think before they defund.