For several years, social media users have shared memes claiming that funds from the sale of Girl Scout Cookies are distributed to Planned Parenthood. Every year, hashtags such as “#cookiecott” are used in the promotion of the rumor.
While the claim that Girl Scout Cookies fund Planned Parenthood became popular in mid-2015 and early 2016 (likely in part due to a series of questionable viral videos targeting the latter organization in the summer of 2015), iterations circulated after Fox News reprinted a LifeSiteNews opinion column in January 2012:
— megan (@meganissleepy) January 18, 2012
However, the rumor predated that article. On Twitter, tweets from early 2010 indicated that the rumor was in circulation at that time, too:
We contacted the Girl Scouts of the USA to determine whether any portion of the rumor was true. They responded that no proceeds have ever been donated from the sale of Girl Scout Cookies to Planned Parenthood, and furnished us with the following statement:
Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control. We believe these are matters that are best discussed within the family.
A specific answer regarding Girl Scout Cookie sale proceeds was available on the organization’s web site:
Does any part of Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue support organizations other than the local Girl Scout council?
One hundred percent of the net revenue raised through the Girl Scout Cookie Program stays with the local council and troops. Girl Scout troops set goals on how to spend their proceeds on program-related activities, such as paying their own way to a community event or museum, or funding other programmatic outings. Girl Scout troops may also choose to use proceeds to purchase materials for a Take Action/Service project to benefit the community.
The subject was addressed in a 12 March 2015 New York Times compendium piece:
In recent years, conservative groups have challenged the organization — even held “cookiecotts” — over critics’ claims that it supports abortion. One Indiana lawmaker in 2012 went so far as to say the Girl Scouts were “quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.”
The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. does have a legislative agenda. Reducing bullying and increasing girls’ involvement in science, technology, engineering and math are among issueson its website.
Not on the list: abortion, or any social issues.
Anna Maria Chávez, the chief executive of the national group, responded to critics last year, denying any relationship with Planned Parenthood.
“A box of Girl Scout cookies is not a political statement,” she said.
As Girl Scouts of the United States of America is an officially registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, their financial records are freely available by law, and can be accessed online through their site.