Indiana Republican Backtracks From Attack On Girl Scouts, While Other Right-Wing Groups Continue Smears

Indiana Republican Rep. Bob Morris has become the butt of late night jokes and ridicule after he wrote a letter to colleagues claiming that the Girl Scouts was a “radicalized organization” that supports abortions and the homosexual agenda. Morris initially stood by his remarks, saying on Tuesday, “My family and I took a view and we’re sticking by it. … My girls are no longer Girl Scouts. They’re now going to join American Heritage Girls.” But now, as the pressure has mounted, Morris is apologizing for the tone of his comments, even as some pro-life groups are rallying to his cause.

In a written statement to The Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne on Thursday, Morris said, “I realize now that my words were emotional, reactionary and inflammatory. For that I sincerely apologize. … I certainly should not have painted the entire Girl Scouts organization with such a wide brush.” He explained, “Had I known this letter would have gone to a wider audience, I would have cited further evidence for my position,” adding that he still stood by his decision not to sign on to a resolution honoring the organization.

But conservative groups like Indiana Right to Life and the American Family Foundation are coming to Morris’ defense, claiming that a Planned Parenthood sexuality educator “developed programs for young Scouts”:

Specifically, the group, which opposes abortion rights, cites a link from the city of Bloomington’s website where a woman was nominated posthumously for a lifetime achievement award in the community.

“(She) started with Planned Parenthood in Bloomington where she worked for many years as a health and sexuality educator, and helped initiate the Family Life Education program for Girl Scouts ages five to 18 throughout a twelve-county area,” the website read.

Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and chief executive officer, said the ties between the groups could not be clearer.

The American Family Association also attacked Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma “for mocking the controversy surrounding Morris” by buying 278 cases of Girl Scouts Cookies and distributing them to fellow lawmakers. In an email sent to its members, the group asks them to contact Bosma and question his actions. “It appears as though Speaker Bosma has more zeal for bad behavior than he does for doing what is right,” the association’s email read. “Or perhaps it is just that he seems to be more interested in mocking a conservative more than he is fighting his true ideological opponents on the political left.”

Last month, a Catholic parish in Virginia banned local Girl Scout troops from parish facilities over its alleged ties to Planned Parenthood. “St. Timothy Catholic Parish in Chantilly says Girl Scouts will not be permitted to meet or wear uniforms on church property, including at St. Timothy School, which covers preschool to grade 8.”

Both the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood deny any affiliation.