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Anti-abortion groups defend Morris' actions

– After facing national scorn seemingly alone for two days, some conservative groups have come to the defense of the stance Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, took toward the Girl Scouts.

Indiana Right to Life issued a statement Thursday tying the Scouts to Planned Parenthood, stating one of the group's sexuality educators 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.

"We are deeply concerned by this new information," Fichter said. "The Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have both dismissed Rep. Morris' concerns as baseless, yet the Bloomington website could not be any clearer."

Morris refused to sign a resolution honoring the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts and wrote a letter to fellow legislators that called the group a "radicalized organization" that supports abortion and promotes "homosexual lifestyles."

Morris on Thursday apologized for that statement but stood behind his decision not to support the group.

The American Family Association attacked House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, for mocking the controversy surrounding Morris. In an email sent to its members, the group asks them to contact Bosma and question his actions.

The speaker joked about buying 278 cases of Girl Scout Cookies and passing them out to House members and staff. He also wore a Girl Scout sash at a political dinner Wednesday, saying someone from Planned Parenthood got him into the troop.

"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."

Bosma was far from the only Republican leader to make light of the controversy.

Locally, Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine opened the party's Wednesday luncheon by welcoming attendees to "Troop meeting 3162."

The family association also attacked Bosma for not supporting an anti-abortion rights bill during the session.