Critics claim pro-lifers ban of Girl Scout cookies punish children

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- An awareness campaign to educate people about Girl Scouts' pro-choice affiliations recently, which includes a boycott of cookie sales, came under fire because of claims the ban only punishes the young scouts and not the policy makers who are at fault.

My Girl Scout Council, a website dedicated to documenting pro-life concerns about Girl Scouts USA called for a "CookieCott" earlier this year as part of the "Now that I know, No Thank You" campaign."

"Now that I know" is one way My Girl Scout Council, led by pro-life activist Ann Saladin, seeks to raise awareness of how GSUSA and the monies they raise help to endorse abortion.

According to Saladin's fact sheet "What You Should Know About Girl Scout Cookies," even the organization's curriculum promotes abortion.

"The Girl Scout curriculum series promotes many women and organizations that publicly advocate for abortion rights, without a similar inclusion of women and organizations that publicly advocate against abortion," Saladin writes.

The 2015 boycott is the most recent, of what has recently become an annual effort. Some say Saldin intentions are to punish Girl Scout participants and eat at the $650 million annual fundraising effort.

In some areas, local chapters never see the funds raised by these national cookie sales and support for the ban is simply an opportunity to educate the public about the type of women GSUSA endorses and elevates.

Additionally, Saladin maintains her motives are to shed light on GSUSA's practices of which people are largely unaware. In a commentary for the National Catholic Register dated Feb. 3, Saladin explained how past efforts led pro-life groups nationwide to initiate last year's ban.

"In January 2014, numerous pro-life groups organized a 'cookiecott' that garnered significant media attention. Given the public's increasing awareness and response to these concerns, one might reasonably assume that Girl Scouts USA would move away from the controversy. Instead, the organization continues to involve its members in abortion advocacy and promote women and organizations that advocate for abortion rights," Saladin wrote.

Vocativ.com reported similar boycotts in years past have, in fact, impacted cookie sales and spurred GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chávez to address the issue in an online video. A portion of the video reportedly "clears up" the pro-choice issue and also explains why the organization conducts their program with a secular approach.

Saladin told Vocativ.com she does not expect to see cookie sales halt altogether, but firmly believes they will be impacted.

"Some will stop buying cookies because of this information," she says. "Some will buy more, and some are unaffected by this issue entirely."