Right to Life backs James, Trump in early endorsements

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News

Lansing — Right to Life of Michigan’s political action committee this week announced its first round of 2020 endorsements, publicly supporting Republican President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate candidate John James.

Organizers called the early endorsements a “rare” move for the anti-abortion group, which also endorsed James over fellow businessman Sandy Pensler in the 2018 GOP Senate primary but did not do so until May of that election year.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James arrives at a primary night election party in Detroit, Aug. 7, 2018.

Historic preservationist Bob Carr of Mackinac Island is also seeking the GOP nomination to take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters, but Right to Life described James as the only “major” anti-abortion candidate in the race.

“John James is a wonderful man who will protect unborn children,” Right to Life of Michigan PAC Chairman Paul Miller said in a statement. “He has cleared the field.”

James, a military veteran who lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow by 6 percentage points in 2018, thanked Right to Life for the early endorsement in his second campaign.  

But Democrats criticized the backing and noted that in his 2018 campaign, the Farmington Hills Republican reportedly opposed abortion even in cases of rape or incest, which separated him from Pensler in the GOP primary.

"This endorsement reflects John James' extreme views on reproductive rights,” said Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Alex Japko. “The fact that John James is '100% pro-life,' even in cases of rape and incest, shows just how out of step he is with Michigan." 

James has said he believes “life begins at conception and ends at a natural death,” vowing to “fight until we end abortion.” He has not publicly weighed in on a Right to Life petition drive seeking to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure known as evacuation and dilation.

While Trump supported abortion rights as a private citizen, he opposed the procedure as part of his winning 2016 campaign. Right to Life of Michigan praised his appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court and push to eliminate government funding for Planned Parenthood.