John Thrasher, a Republican state senator from Jacksonville and the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, “does not condone” the controversial comments of an anti-abortion group he helped raise money for — comments that include the claim that Planned Parenthood’s efforts are similar to “genocide.”
In August, the Texas-based anti-abortion group Heroic Media hosted a Jacksonville event that prominently featured both Sarah Palin and Sen. Thrasher.
Titled “An Evening of Hope,” the event was a fundraiser for Heroic’s efforts in Florida — commercials and billboards that many have deemed offensive. The ads, which are specifically targeted toward African-Americans, are part of Heroic Media’s massive campaign against Planned Parenthood, an effort the group has labeled “Planned Parenthood aborts African Americans.”
On Wednesday, our sister site, The Texas Independent, profiled Heroic Media founder Brian Follett. In the piece, Follett defended his group’s latest campaign, saying it was “hard for [him] to fathom” why more prominent African-American leaders aren’t speaking up about “the African-American population declining.”
Follett also spoke out strongly against Planned Parenthood, using harsh words to describe its pro-choice work: “‘Genocide’ is a strong word, but it’s almost like that.”
Thrasher, who introduced Palin at Heroic’s August event and took part in a question-and-answer panel to close the event, is now distancing himself from the organization.
In a statement, the senator’s spokesperson Sarah Bascom said that “Thrasher’s only involvement with” Heroic Media came at the August fundraiser, and that “he was asked by the local organizers” to introduce Palin.
“He is pro-life and supports pro-life groups,” Bascom added, “but clearly they are going for shock-value with their ad techniques, which he does not condone.”