Radio ad claims Sen. Debbie Stabenow supports 'black genocide,' draws outrage

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is the target of an radio ad accusing her of supporting “black genocide” for her support of abortion rights. The ad was funded by a Virginia-based political action committee that supports her opponent, Republican John James.

Clergy members are calling on Republican Senate hopeful John James to denounce a radio ad that claims Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow supports killing black babies.

The ad calls abortion “black genocide” and encourages listeners to vote for Stabenow’s opponent, James, who is black.

The ad, sponsored by a conservative political action committee based in Virginia, has aired sporadically for the past month on 92.3 FM WMXD, a Detroit-area R&B radio station owned by iHeartmedia. It wasn’t clear Sunday if the ad has aired on other stations.

“Debbie Stabenow and half of all black babies aborted or John James and more opportunity? Sounds like a simple choice,” the ad says.

Hours after the ad aired on Friday afternoon, high-profile pastors in Detroit blasted it as “disgusting” and “disingenuous,” and called on James to denounce it.

“He needs to disassociate himself with this … I expected better from him,”  said Terra DeFoe, chair of the Democratic Party’s faith caucus and senior adviser to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on faith-based affairs.

“Speaking as a woman, a black woman and clergy in this community, anybody who votes for someone with that type of commercial is clearly not understanding what’s going on in the inner city.  Black people have seen this tactic before and we don’t like it.”

Listen to the ad

The criticism comes less than a week after James admitted a “terrible error” when his campaign aired a TV that briefly featured a swastika on a school bulletin board. His campaign said it would swap out a new ad Tuesday.

On Monday, James campaign manager Tori Sachs noted that James didn't approve of the genocide ad.

“It’s desperate and hypocritical for Debbie Stabenow and her allies to complain about the results of her failed leadership in Washington that have created an environment where ads can be run without consent or approval of a candidate (we didn't consent or approve this ad)."  Sachs said. 

"Our comment is simple - Stabenow told the news 20 years ago that 'campaign finance reform is my top priority,' after 43 years as a politician, why haven't you fixed it already and why should we believe you this time?"

Asked follow-up questions from Bridge about criticisms from preachers, Sachs replied with the same statement.

James, an Army veteran and businessman, is pro-life, according to his campaign website. He was endorsed by the Right to Life of Michigan and has said his pro-life stance is  “rooted very deeply” in his identity. He would only make exceptions to his anti-abortion stance in situations where a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

Stabenow is endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America and supports Planned Parenthood, a national nonprofit that provides women’s medical services, including abortions.

The ad was not endorsed by James and was purchased by a political action committee called Stars and Stripes Forever PAC, according to the radio station’s online list of political advertisers.

Stabenow’s office did not return calls or emails from Bridge Magazine about the ad. Nor did the Stars and Stripes Forever PAC.

The ad features a female and male voice discussing abortion and begins with a male announcer who invokes black preachers who oppose abortion. It mentions Stabenow’s support for abortion rights.

“How can Debbie Stabenow ask for our votes when she doesn’t even want our babies?” the ad says.

African-Americans have the highest rate of abortions by ethnic group, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a policy group that studies reproductive health. It attributes the rate of abortions among African-Americans on the lack of insurance and access to health care.

It’s not the first time anti-abortion advocates have equated abortion to black genocide, who say Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger supported eugenics and abortion as a means of “weeding out the unfit.”

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, pastor of Fellowship Chapel in Detroit and president of the Detroit Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the tactic “deceitful.”

Anthony, a prominent Democrat, said black clergy are “concerned about all life” and called the ad “offensive” to Stabenow.

“I am very surprised candidate John James would allow himself to be tagged with this kind of deceitful, disrespectful and disingenuous, absurd notion. I would urge him to pull the ad now because it doesn’t reflect the best interests of what he’s supposed to be about,” Anthony said.

The group that bought the ad associates itself to a well-known Detroiter and was founded in 2013 to support the presidential ambitions of Ben Carson, a black Republican who grew up in Detroit.  The PAC runs radio ads in an effort to sway more African Americans to vote Republican and now has ads running in Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania, its website says.

“If this is what they’re bringing to get black people to support them, shame on them and see you at the polls,” Anthony said.

Bishop Edgar Vann, pastor of Second Ebenezer Church, said while abortion runs counter to the Biblical beliefs of many, the topic is being used as a political tool to divide people.

He called the ad “incendiary” and “inflammatory.”

“Politics is not a religion. It’s a science,” Vann said. “All we’re doing now is dividing people and this country.”

Outrage over the anti-abortion ad running in Detroit comes as another controversial ad aimed at black voters aired in Arkansas.

That ad, sponsored by PAC called Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, claims that if Democrats are elected, “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again,” and goes on to say “we can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to the bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.”

The Republican that the ad intended to support, Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., who is running for re-election in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District, said he did not endorse the ad. He called it “appalling” last week.

Here’s a transcript of the ad for John James:

Announcer: A new study shows 61 percent of black deaths are caused by abortion. African American pastors said it’s black genocide

Man: Black genocide, that’s pretty strong

Woman: It’s worse than you think, more than 1,800 black babies are aborted each day, half of all the black babies in America

Man: What?

Woman: And Senator Debbie Stabenow is part of the problem. She supports abortion for any reason.

Man: How can Debbie Stabenow ask for our votes when she doesn’t even want our babies?

Woman: Good question.

Man: Our children need better schools, more jobs and more opportunity, not abortion.

Woman: That’s why I’m voting John James for Senate

Man: Isn’t John James the black Republican?

Woman: John James is working for more jobs and getting black families the choice in their kids’ schools.

Man: Debbie Stabenow and half of all black babies aborted or John James and more opportunity? Sounds like a simple choice.

Woman: The choice is simple and, this year, the decision is ours.

The ad is scheduled to run through the Nov. 6 election.

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Mon, 10/22/2018 - 9:44am

So if half of all black pregnancies end up being aborted and half the abortions are performed on black girls vs. being 20%(?) of the population, what would you like want to call this? Note, I used to be pro-life, but after watching the NARAL folks, Women's march crowd and the Democrats in general carrying on, I've changed my mind!

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 12:54pm

Black women are not choosing to genocide themselves you propagandist hack. They're choosing to exert autonomy over their own bodies and as a Libertarian, you should absolutely no qualms with that.

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 7:54pm

Comrade Bones As I said I have come to favor more women exercising their right to abortion, your mother for instance?

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 11:03am

Only seen one TV ad for him in Lansing, not on this topic. Just being a veteran is not a good enough reason to vote for someone IMO, other than that he seems to have nothing to offer.

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 12:54pm

Where's the lie?

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 6:23am

The entire thing is "the lie". Genocide has a very specific meaning, and it is NOT "women terminating unwanted pregnancies". Don't be dumb. When all those unwanted babies are born, what is this "black Republican" going to do to help the woman and her new baby? Nothing. He will vote to slash benefits for food, shelter, medical care and education, just like evey other "pro life" Republican who could give a rats behind about the kid after it is born. This whole ad is a lie, and its sad you can't see that...that is what they are counting on, ill informed people who they can trick with this nonsense. Be smarter.

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 8:49pm

So, just say if someone targeted and was able to convince 100% of all black women to abort their pregnancies, would that be genocide?

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 6:41am

Obviously he’s desperate...
Stabenow continues with positive messaging about getting along while James takes on a devisive agenda.
If he ever wants to be in any elected office he would be wise to distance himself from these tactics for the remaining days of the campaign.
Too bad really. I had hoped he would be a more stable voice for the Republican Party.
They need one desperately.

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 3:43pm

That's right folks, according to this ad, blacks are thought to be so gullible that they will blame Debbie Stabenow for the abortion that THEY THEMSELVES seek.

Republican cowards are shameless, and James sits behind his plausible deniability, ready to serve the old white man's agenda of cutting healthcare and education for his piece of the pie. Uncle Tomism at its finest...

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 10:38pm

DEBBIE STABENOW and GRETCHEN WHITMER are running for Senate & Governor respectively. Both proudly supports"restructuring" or "abolishing" ICE, sanctuary cities, amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, using taxpayer funds for illegal aliens & DACA. In addition, both are weak on border security and national defense. Both supported by both La Raza & MALDEF which says it all.

If you OPPOSE illegal immigration, taxpayer funds used for illegal aliens, sanctuary cities, amnesty Please VOTE NO for DEBBIE STABENOW & GRETCHEN WHITMER this November....we can't afford anymore Democrats.

Vote this election for candidates who prioritize citizens over illegal aliens (bet you thought that was a given ...not anymore.) Those who oppose sanctuary cities, open borders, non citizens voting, amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and taxpayer funded in state college tuition discounts for illegals. That means NO Democrats. Democrats want to encourage, reward, protect illegal aliens with jobs, amnesty, drivers licenses, discounts for college tuition, scholarships, then after they're here....protect them from deportation. This creates MORE illegal entry and the Democrats know this.

Recent Gallup poll- almost 60% of Democrats now view socialism positively, little changed from 2010 survey.

The current migration at our southern border is costing taxpayers a Kings Ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don't stay in Mexico when they reach "safety" or ask for political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats and our tax dollars. Just debating DACA in congress is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars..... thank the parents.

Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children and grand children as has been passed on to us.

*The cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the billions spent on bilingual education for illegal aliens.

*Taxpayers in numerous states are funding in state college tuition discounts for illegal aliens. Cost to taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

*30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison U do the math.

*$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the Criminal justice system. I repeat 3 MILLION a DAY.

*$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) WIC, & free school lunches.

If you OPPOSE illegal immigration, taxpayer funds used for illegal aliens, sanctuary cities, non citizens voting, open borders, amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, weak border security, tax increases. VOTE NO for ALL Democrats this November.

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 8:47am

This is a great ad! Finally someone is talking about the reality of abortion. Planned Parenthood clinics are strategically placed in poor a Black and Hispanic neighborhoods to terminate, as Margaret Sanger called them, "human weeds" I applaud John James for boldly stating the reality of abortion. Finally a strong candidate willing to speak the truth. Debbie Stabenow doesn't like the truth. That's what she wants him to remove the ad that exposes her. She wants to hide it with slogans . The people of the state deserve better.

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 8:53am

Im voting for John James!