May 14, 2012 — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently sent an official inquiry to the Girl Scouts requesting information on programs and materials that some religious conservatives claim promote contraception and abortion, the Washington Post reports.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., who is leading the investigation, sent a letter to Girl Scout leaders stating that "important questions still remain and need to be examined," but it did not mention any specific issues (Morello, Washington Post, 5/10). The letter stated that the inquiry will focus on "possible problematic relationships" and "problematic" materials used by the organization (AP/New York Times, 5/11).
Girl Scouts officials have stated repeatedly that the organization does not partner with Planned Parenthood or take positions on sexuality, birth control or abortion. Critics also have chastised the group for using materials that contain links to Doctors Without Borders, the Sierra Club and Oxfam because the groups support family planning and emergency contraception.
About one-quarter of the Girl Scouts' 2.3 million youth members in the U.S. are Catholic, the group estimates. In addition, many troops are sponsored by Catholic parishes (Crary, AP/Yahoo News, 5/10).