National Right to Life replaces president

National Right to Life announced April 11 it had elected a new president, Carol Tobias (right), to replace Wanda Franz.

I have no allegiance to either individual. But I did think it somewhat classless and disrespectful for NRLC not to officially thank Franz for her 20+ years of service in what must certainly have been a difficult job, which in its press release and online statement it did not.

NRLC’s snub of Franz on her way out the door was an unnecessary give-away that the transition wasn’t peaceful. NRLC raised curiosity when it didn’t have to.

I reached out to both Franz and NRLC for a response and got a gracious “no comment” from the former and no return call from the latter. Franz did post an explanation on Facebook but later removed it, so out of respect for her I won’t repost it.

Nevertheless, I did gain insight on the dynamics in play from multiple sources close to the situation. But less said is best. NRLC has made a big directional change, no matter how clumsily, and hopefully it will be for the better.

21 thoughts on “National Right to Life replaces president”

  1. I am actually having a two-way discussion with Eric Zorn about his opposition to ultrasound legislation in IL at chicagotribune.org.  If any post-abortive women who visit this site were denied a chance to view the ultrasound, you could help immensely with my point.  Mr. Zorn apparently agrees that if an ultrasound is used, patients have the right to view it.  He is now questioning my claim that clinics obfuscate the ultrasound screen.  PP of Aurora told me over the phone that they do allow viewing of the ultrasound.  Was anyone out there denied the right to view their ultrasound?  Please comment on Zorn’s article at
    http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2011/04/take-a-close-look-anti-abortion-proposal-in-springfield-encourages-women-to-view-fetal-ultrasounds-o.html
    to raise support for ultrasound legislation in IL.

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  2. Without getting into the differences between individual NRTL leaders, can we get some idea what the big directional change is?

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  3. What’s the point of this? It seems like nothing more than tantalizing gossip, compounded by the fact that you apparently know something, feel the need to tell others you know something, but then refuse to tell us what that something is. No offense to you, but I find that juvenille. You could have just skipped the whole thing.

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  4. @Eric, lots of people were upset when Jill commented/revealed the split between Rock for Life and ALL. So it’s not like this is an attack on NRLC per se as it is behind-the-scenes chatter. 

    That being said, isn’t it awkward to post things like this and then rub elbows/fundraise for and with these NRLC people?

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  5. Some Guy: Had NRLC replaced Franz with grace, and/or returned my call, this post most likely would never have been written.

    California: I do indeed walk a tightrope when it comes to blogging about pro-lifers. But I have to maintain my independence. Sometimes relationships do get dicey, but we’re all adults. And I don’t fundraise with or for NRLC. I do speak at affiliate functions, however, and they always go well.

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  6. I don’t see a need for any more infighting in the pro-life community when so many innocent lives are at stake. Pro-lifers don’t always see eye to eye about the means to stop the horror of abortion in our country, but I’ll venture to say we agree that abortion needs to stop NOW. In the future when things like the change in presidents (and how it was handled) of NRL come up, maybe instead of calling people out, it would be a better idea to help heal wounds instead of exposing more of them. You have such a powerful platform here on your blog, Jill. It would be a joy to have it not only be a great way to keep up with all things pro-life…but it could also be a means of healing and calm when well-meaning pro-life people butt heads. Just something to consider.

    Please keep up the good work, and know that you are being prayed for! God Bless!

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  7. I think the bottom line is that National Right to Life has been losing influence overall and in comparison to other pro-life groups and it became clear that something must be done. I’m glad they finally took action although time will tell if brings them greater relevance among the pro-life movement.

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  8. Jills comments are well made. There is a tightrope to be walked when blogging on pro-life. It helps when one is not tied in formally to any one group.

    Approaches can become ossified, and the continued blight of abortion for half a century indicates that fresh blood and fresh approaches are necessary.

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  9. Oh my goodness, this is not infighting, people. Jill is communicating what she knows minus the info that might be harmful to the movement. That’s exactly what she should do. I agree pro-lifers need to find as much unity as possible, but let’s not get so extreme that we react whenever there is a hint of disagreement between two pro-life camps.

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  10. You know why ‘they’ always tell you never to discuss politics and religion?

    Cause ‘they’ know there is very little difference and ‘they’ are concerned you might notice the dead rat in the middle of the room.

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  11. Jill did the right thing here. This blog is an important source of news and information for pro-lifers. When the largest pro-life organization in the country gets a new President, that is certainly newsworthy. Furthemore, the fact that NRLC’s outgoing President was not publicly thanked was newsworthy as well.

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  12. If, as you say, “less said is best”, then why was it necessary to speculate at all and stir the pot?  Some guy, in his reply, got it right.

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  13. Jill’s not stirring the pot. She’s reporting an important news story in the pro-life community, WITHOUT saying things that would be potentially harmful to one party. Are you actually bugged that you now know that NRLC has switched presidents? Or are you bugged that Jill knows more than us? I’m confused.

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  14. TNTVid,

    I don’t see Jill speculating here. Within the pro-life movement, it’s hardly a secret that there are diametrically opposed camps when it comes to ideology and strategy. My approaches have come under fire from folks who have been involved since the 1970’s, and I’ve come in for a few trips to the woodshed by older leaders.

    While I see their point, I also see the movement losing ground in some areas, and gaining ground because of Lila Rose and her generation of activists.

    The movement needs to big enough to accommodate new leaders, new ideas, and new strategies. If it becomes ossified, it will die an ugly death. No one strategy or person will kill this multi-headed beast. Airing differences may also be good for fundraising with donors willing to fund new leadership and strategies. Jill got it exactly right in her tone, content, and tenor.

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  15. 2 things – I thought you criticize ideas and not people. Also, are you sure your facts are true? I was under the impression that this was a regularly scheduled election. Don’t people have a right to change Presidents?

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  16. Why was the “explanation” removed from Facebook? In the interest of truthful, accurate blogging, why not disclose it? Isn’t it rather classless and disrespectful to hide such information if you know what it is?

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  17. Jill would probably be justified in publishing the now deleted Facebook explanation, since it was public for a time. This is one of those grey area situations for bloggers, and Jill apparently decided to go the classy route and respect Mrs. Franz’s implied wishes.

    I think it’s terribly ironic that while handling this sensitive topic with a lot of care and respect, Jill is being called “classless and disrespectful.” 

    The irony even goes deeper than that. Jill and I are friends but we don’t always agree on the approach to take with people. (Who does?) I think Jill would have no problem with me saying that I would occasionally prefer Jill toned it down a little when talking about pro-choice people. And yet I’m the one defending her for writing a piece here that was full of respect, even for people that she doesn’t always agree with!

    So please take a step back and ask yourself if you REALLY think it would have been MORE classy for Jill to publish comments by either party involved that have since been deleted. And then kindly back off. Jill’s in the right here.

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  18. Uh, Josh. The words “classless and disrespectful” are Jill’s own words to describe NRLC. She is totally guilty of violating her own blog rules. Credible blogging means not censoring appropriate information; however this debate is about inappropriate criticism of an organizational election about which the nurse knows nothing substantive.  The ultimate classy and respectful behavior on Jill’s part would be to take down this blog article and apologize for breaking her own rules.

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  19. Jill said, “But I did think it somewhat classless and disrespectful for NRLC not to officially thank Franz for her 20+ years of service in what must certainly have been a difficult job, which in its press release and online statement it did not.”

    I think that’s a fair statement, and commentary that can be made about the information that IS public, i.e. NRLC’s press release. Jill is right to comment about that. That’s what she does.

    What Jill does have the right to do as a blogger and sensitive human being is choose whether to publish information that both parties don’t want out there, because they would cause even more disunity than already exists in the pro-life movement.

    I think there are some cases where we as bloggers/podcasters have to make wise decisions about what to put out there and what to leave behind the scenes. I have to make those kinds of decisions all the time. In the end, that is Jill’s decision to make.

    I think it’s sad that you call her uncredible just because she won’t give you all the juicy details.

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  20. Josh, I’m not “bugged that Jill knows more than us”.  In fact, I know more than Jill.  THAT’S why I said Jill got it right when she said, “less said is best”, and she should have left it at that.  Gerald, I agree with much of what you say, but, of course Jill is speculating here — it’s an understandable expression of curiosity, but speculation is exactly what you call it when questions are raised an conclusions are drawn based on inference and deduction without sufficient knowledge.  Like you, I am just an outsider, too, but I know this much: What has happened is simply a generational change of leadership; that change happened with real efforts to be gracious and respectful.  Such transitions are rarely easy for everyone.  Now, NRLC will go forward with a vigorous vision for the 21st  Century and the welfare of the helpless in heart. Some of those who read the news don’t take into account that those who are BUSY MAKING the news only have barely enough time to write their news releases in haste and everything might not get said the first time. I haven’t looked closely at their website lately, but if Dr. Franz was not thanked, I’m sure she will be.  We do the movement no service by sitting on the outside of an organization — especially the flagship organization — trying to second guess how the family inside takes care of its own INTERNAL business — and it is THEIR business, not ours.

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  21. AMEN TNTVid.  I got the news release via e-mail and saw nothing wrong with it. Now after re-reading it, I find no insiunation of ingratitute.  It did not mention that Ms. Frans was defeated in an election.  Instead it described Ms. Tobias as succeeding (not defeating) Ms. Frans. Where’s the supposed “snub”? Frankly, I wouldn’t have given the news release a second thought except for the classless and disrespectful ideas raised by this blog.  Give me a break.   30-30-30

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