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Indiana lawmaker: Girl Scouts in league with Planned Parenthood

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:26 PM EST, Wed February 22, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris lobbies against honoring Girl Scouts
  • GOP lawmaker says the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood
  • Girl Scouts says Morris is "off the mark on his claims"
  • Indiana's House speaker hands out Girl Scout cookies

(CNN) -- An Indiana lawmaker who opposes celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America says the group "sexualizes" young girls, promotes homosexuality and is a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.

In a letter sent to members of the Republican Caucus, Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris said many parents were "abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles."

"As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the 'Peoples' House' to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization," Morris said, warning lawmakers not "to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values."

In the Saturday letter, obtained by CNN affiliate WRTV-TV in Indianapolis, Morris lobbied lawmakers to oppose a nonbinding resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.

Morris was the only member not to sign the measure.

After doing what he called a "small amount" of research on the Internet, Morris said, he and his wife concluded the Girl Scouts have become a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood and are part of an agenda that includes "sexualizing" young girls.

Morris' two daughters have been pulled from the Girl Scouts, he said, and instead will become active in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers organization -- a group that "will not confuse their conservative Hoosier upbringing."

Morris said he takes the stand despite the knowledge that "99.9% of Girl Scout troops in this country" are run by good leaders, he told WRTV. The concern, he said, is where the money goes on the national level.

In a statement, the Girl Scouts said, "Regarding Representative Morris, if the freshman representative wishes to discredit the contributions that hundreds of thousands of Indiana women and girls have made through the Girl Scouts program over the last 100 years, then he's entitled to his opinion.

"Not only is Rep. Morris off the mark on his claims, it's also unfortunate in his limited research that he failed to discover that since 1917, every first lady has served as the honorary leader of Girl Scouts, including Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush."

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said she was disappointed in Morris' words, calling them "inflammatory, misleading, woefully inaccurate and harmful."

The controversy is the latest involving Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation briefly cut funding for some Planned Parenthood projects, saying it decided it would no longer fund groups under federal investigation. Congress in September began investigating whether Planned Parenthood illegally used federal funds to provide abortions.

After Komen's initial decision, Planned Parenthood said money from the foundation has largely paid for breast exams at local centers. In the past five years, it said, grants from Komen have directly supported 170,000 screenings, making up about 4% of the exams performed at Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide.

Karen Handel, a vice president with the Komen Foundation, resigned her position this month following uproar over Komen's actions.

In stark contrast to his colleague, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, also a Republican, handed out Girl Scout cookies on the floor of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

"There are a lot of sideshows at the General Assembly ... and all walks of life, and you just have to determine which ones you're going to go into," Bosma told CNN affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis.

Read more about this story from CNN affiliates WRTV and WISH.

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