MILWAUKEE – Anti-abortion groups angry over what they see as the Girl Scouts' support for abortion-rights advocates, including Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, have launched a cookie boycott.
The groups have taken issue with tweets and Facebook postings that link to articles recognizing Davis, who shot to political stardom last year with a filibuster of abortion limits, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, another Democrat who supports abortion rights.
"It's very clear that they are not citing any pro-life leaders with any praise, even though their official stand is they are not taking any position on abortion," said John Pisciotta, director of Pro-Life Waco and organizer of the so-called CookieCott 2014.
The Girl Scouts do not endorse politicians or take stands on political issues, spokeswoman Kelly Parisi said Tuesday. The posts were meant to encourage people to get involved in discussions about the top newsmakers of 2013, which many people were referring to as the year of women, Parisi said.
"We think it is appropriate for us to encourage conversation about what makes a female leader," she said.
One tweet from the Girl Scouts of the USA asked for nominees for woman of the year and linked to a Huffington Post discussion on the subject in which Davis was mentioned prominently. A post on the organization's Facebook page linked to a Washington Post list of influential women that included Sebelius.
"Why link it? Why not just ask who inspired you this year?" said Ann Saladin, a conservative activist and former Girl Scout who lives in St. Louis.
Saladin and others have helped promote the boycott, and groups including Pro-Life Wisconsin are encouraging their members to participate.
Pisciotta organized a 2004 boycott of cookie sales in Waco after the local Girl Scouts council recognized the leader of the local Planned Parenthood chapter for her achievements. It helped give the council its best year for cookie sales, said Lucia Weinmeister, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Central Texas.
"It does fire up people who are against what we do, or what they think we do," she said. "It also fires up our strongest supporters."