Abortion rights opponents are calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, charging the youth organization with promoting abortion.
Girl Scouts of the USA says it is a non-political group and denies any stance on abortion.
These groups are "using our brand to push a political agenda on the backs of our girls," said Kelly Parisi, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.
The campaign to boycott the cookies — called Cookiecott 2014 — was prompted by a Girl Scouts tweet, said John Pisciotta, director of Pro-Life Waco and the organizer of the Girl Scouts cookie boycott. Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and LifeNews.com, a news service for abortion opponents, are also supporting the boycott.
In December 2013, the Girl Scouts of the USA's Twitter account retweeted a Huffington Post link to a live chat about who should be the 2013 Woman of the Year.
The Huffington Post story listed several potential candidates, including youth activist Malala Yousafzai, performer Beyoncê and Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis. In June 2013, Davis became prominent after filibustering a bill before the state Senate that would make it more difficult for women to get abortions.
Although the bill failed in the regular session, Gov. Rick Perry called a special session to reintroduce the bill, and it passed. Davis is now running for governor.
The Girl Scouts tweet did not name Davis, but Pisciotta said the retweet of The Huffington Post link was akin to "praise for the whole group."
"There were no reservations placed for anyone in the group, which included Wendy Davis," he said.
But Parisi said the Girl Scouts was not endorsing anyone on the list.
"We just asked a question about who are the leaders who should be on such a list," she said.
Pisciotta said the tweet alone wouldn't have prompted a cookie boycott, but there were "underlying concerns."
This is not the first time abortion rights opponents have tried to link the Girl Scouts with Planned Parenthood and abortion rights.
In 2004, Pro-Life Waco, which is organizing the current boycott, called for a cookie boycott over a local Girl Scout council's participation in an event with Planned Parenthood. The Girl Scouts pulled out of the event, but the boycott continued.
In 2012, an Indiana state representative was the lone lawmaker to oppose a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, saying he'd found research linking the group to Planned Parenthood.
On its website, Girls Scouts of the USA says it does not have any relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood. Girl Scouts also says it does not take a position or develop materials on abortion, birth control or human sexuality.
"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," the website says. "Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature."
Abortion rights opponents acknowledge that the national organization for Girl Scouts does not take an official stance on abortion, but express concern that local councils are free to partner with whomever they please.
Each Girl Scout council is its own not-for-profit organization, Parisi said. "The councils agree with us that these sensitive political issues are best left at the family level," she said. "We have not seen these partnerships they claim at the local level."
It's too soon to tell whether the boycott is having any impact on cookie sales, Parisi said.
"Girls Scouts are resourceful," Parisi said. "They are turning this boycott into a buy-cott and asking people to come down to support girls one cookie at a time."
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