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The mothers behind The Girl Scout cookie boycott

The mothers behind The Girl Scout cookie boycott

The new gluten-free shortbread cookies should have been the most controversial part of the 2014 Girl Scout cookie campaign.

Instead, pro-life groups across the country have banded together to launch CookieCott 2014, a boycott of Thin Mints, Tagalongs and other tasty pastries because the Girl Scout’s national leadership “continues to show its attachment to pro-abortion leaders and organizations.”

What began as a local effort through Pro-Life Waco has rallied anti-abortion groups across the country, including Pro-Life Wisconsin. But how exactly did the Girl Scouts, a group that actively states it “does not take a position” on birth control or abortion, manage to enrage pro-lifers?

It all apparently comes down to a tweet and a Facebook post. At the end of last year, the Girl Scouts’ official Twitter account tweeted a Huffington Post article on “Incredible Ladies of 2013.” In addition to featuring Beyonce and Malala Yousafzai, the list gave a nod to Wendy Davis. Then, on Dec. 30, the Girl Scouts posted on their Facebook page a link to a Washington Post article called “Seven Women Who Made a Difference in 2013,” which included Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius.

And that was all it took. The Girl Scouts made no formal endorsement of either Davis or Sebelius, let alone their politics. But sharing lists that feature those two women set off CookieCott 2014.

John Pisciotta, the director of Waco Pro-Life and an organizer of CookieCott 2014,  believes that even posting a list that includes Davis as an “incredible lady” is anathema to the Girl Scouts’ official non-stance on abortion. 

“You don't take a position one way or the other on abortion, but you're comfortable saying a politician for whom abortion is their claim to fame is in consideration for woman of the year?,” he says. “That's silly. Wendy Davis 2013 means filibuster to stop abortion restrictions.”

Pro-life groups have been after the Girl Scouts for years, misconstruing it as a pro-choice organization (along with a leftist, lesbian, and feminist one). Their strategy has been to jump on the Girl Scouts’ official non-stance on abortion and contraception and criticize it every time it associates or mentions a figure or organization remotely supportive of abortion or birth control.

“I think Girl Scouts should honor its statement that it takes no position on ‘abortion, birth control, and human sexuality,” said Ann Saladin, a former Girl Scout mother in St. Louis who works on the CookieCott.  “Unfortunately, many of its actions simply don't match up with this promise, as is evidenced by the numerous examples of women and organizations which publically advocate for reproductive/abortion rights that are promoted to their members.”

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