I decided to fact check a recent news article, “Girl Scouts Give Highest Award to Teen Who Organized Abortion Campaign“, by Nwo Report, that I came across while scrolling on Facebook. I was very surprised when I read the headline and thought it was an interesting topic to read more about, especially since a friend of mine on Facebook shared this.
The article by NWO Report addresses the recent Gold Star award, which is known to be the highest award you can receive, that was given to Girl Scout Meghan Gopalan who plans to work on “‘reproductive health justice’– an umbrella term that include[s] abortion on demand” (Nwo Report, 2019). Her project included working with the Women’s March.
I decided to read more about Nwo Report’s website so I went on their “About Us” page. Right from the beginning, they state that they prove every claim they make, and that their “purpose [is] to prove with undeniable proof that there is a group of extremely rich “power mongers” who want to rule the world in a slave state that makes the most extreme horror movie seem pale by comparison”. I was a tad confused while reading that last part and wondering why/how they made that huge jump from proving every claim they make to that statement. So far these sites seem more like opinion writing than fact writing and are less on the academic side.
After reading that, I decided to go upstream on this article to find its original source to see how true this really was. The article goes on to LifeNews.com on how Meghan Gopalan from Arizona was awarded the highest standard of Girl Scouts for promoting abortion. As I headed over to LifeNews.com, I notice how they stated the same thing as the NWO Report, however, I spotted another website being cited: Breitbart.com. So I went on to that website and noticed a whole different header entitled, “Girl Scouts Partner with Abortion Industry, ‘Anal Sex Tutorial’ Promoter Teen Vogue”. This was completely different than the other articles. These other articles seems as if they took bits and pieces of this article. However, after reading, they did add about how Gopalan was awarded the Gold Star for her project on the female reproductive system to “educate people about and destigmatize access to women’s healthcare” (Berry 2019).
However, I noticed that this Briebart.com never included the term “abortion” or “pro-life” whatsoever within their article. I knew at this point that something was up. How could this site, which seems to be the original source, say nothing about this girl promoting abortion, yet the other sites that are getting their information from Breitbart repeatedly mention those two words?
This was when I decided to google search the key words in these articles “girl scouts Meghan Gopalan abortion” on duckduckgo.com using factcheck.org and snopes.com. After I searched that, the very first thing that came up was snopes.com factchecking the article. The article snopes.com brought me to read, “Did the Girls Scouts Give Their ‘Highest Award’ to a Girl for Her Pro-Choice Activism?”. Snopes gives the claim and the rating along with it. In this case, the claim was rated to be false.
While reading laterally, snopes includes the origin from which the claim comes from which expresses how right-leaning and pro-life websites criticize Girl Scouts “in response to reports about a member in Southern Arizona who planned to achieve the organization’s “Gold Award” with a project about women’s reproductive health”. They cite an “article” from LifeNews.com, but when I tried to follow up with the website, it is blank and tells me right away that the website is not secure. I thought that was weird, since I looked at the website before and it was fine, but when it was linked, it wasn’t showing anything. I then went back to snopes.com to read more about what the website had to say. They stated how the Girl Scouts’ support of abortion continues to grow. They continue to address Breitbart.com’s statement on how Meghan Gopalan was awarded the highest award for a project that focused on the reproductive health justice and that her goal was just another term for abortion.
This however, was not true. The websites that posted these stories are pro-life and very biased about their own views. Snopes actually includes where the true, original article comes from, which was an article from Tuscon posted in November of 2018. This article discusses Meghan Gopalan’s plans for working towards earning the Gold Award for Girls Scouts, and how the 2016 election sparked her interest for civic engagement and wanted to be involved in something that mattered to her; she chose women’s healthcare, something that she felt was lacking within our society, and participated in the March for Our Lives. This led her to become involved with the Tucson Women’s March, where she was able to meet with new people, find her voice, and become an active member in society where she feels open to express her opinions to the public. The article then provides us with their interview with Meghan and how she got involved with the March, how she wants to make a difference, and her project for the Gold Award.
“Reproductive justice to me means making sure that all girls and women—regardless of our background, education, income, or age—have access to education and information about healthcare. We all have bodies, but we don’t all know how to keep them healthy.” -Meghan Gopalan.
In conclusion, while it is true that Meghan Gopalan discussed her plans for the Gold Award involving her association with women’s healthcare, the claim that her plan was pro-life or about abortion was never mentioned in her statements/interview. Gopalan also states in her plan about working with El Rio Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP), which is “part of the Tucson, Arizona El Rio Health Center, a federally-qualified health center that is legally barred from providing abortion service.” It also is barred from “giv[ing] direct referrals for such services, instead focusing on sex education, contraception and birth control and STI testing”, things that lack within women’s healthcare. Therefore, it has been confirmed by Snopes that Girl Scouts did not award the Gold Award to a project that promoted abortion, nor did Meghan Gopalan’s project intend her project to address that issue.