A “Christ-centered” girls group, an alternative to the Girl Scouts, is taking up the issue of abortion.
The group, American Heritage Girls, is now offering girls a “Respect Life” merit badge. The badge honors girls who are involved in pro-life activities, such as collecting diapers for a pregnancy care center. The badge also recognizes the girls’ involvement with the elderly and disabled.
The Girl Scouts, however, have taken no official position on abortion.
“They say they take no position and when one takes no position, they do take a position. That’s a concern for me as a leader of a girl’s organization,” Patti Garibay, executive director of American Heritage Girls, told TheBlaze. “These are issues that girls do have to deal with — and if you’re going to be a character-driven program … [abortion] is an issue that we can’t just sweep under the carpet.”
But officials from the Girl Scouts argue that the organization isn’t meant to take a stance on abortion.
“Our consistent stance on family issues has been one of privacy: private issues of a private matter are best left to the family to discuss at home,” said Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts. “We believe Girl Scouts, as the world’s preeminent organization for girls, is no place for the discussion of sensitive issues best handled by families.”
American Heritage Girls boasts about 32,000 members around the world, up from just 17,000 in 2012.
The Girls Scouts have about 2.2 million members, but are down in membership from past years.
“One of the things that attracts so many girls to AHG is our strong affirmation of the Biblical worldview, which includes respecting all life from conception to natural death,” Garibay said in a press release. Over the years AHG troops have supported life in a variety of ways, and we are pleased to offer them the opportunity to earn this patch and display it on their uniforms,” she added.
Publication Date: January 12, 2014.