Michigan is building on its reputation as the anti-Florida, where its firm protections for reproductive freedom stand in stark contrast to a rigid new abortion ban signed into law in the Sunshine State.
MICHIGAN—Visitors touching down at the Orlando International Airport in Florida are being met with a clear directive upon their arrival this week: Turn around, and head to Michigan instead.
A billboard campaign launched this week by the Committee to Protect Health Care takes aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over legislation he signed in April to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The ban would prevent an estimated four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks—often before they even know they’re pregnant.
The billboards read: “TURN AROUND! Ron DeSantis is attacking your reproductive rights. Head to Michigan for patient-doctor medical decisions.”
In the wake of DeSantis’ presidential campaign launch on Twitter, activists with the Committee to Protect Health Care are not only seeking to draw attention to his extreme views on abortion, but are also hoping to lure people away from Florida and into Michigan, where nearly 2.5 million voters opted to enshrine reproductive freedoms into the state constitution last November.
In April, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also signed Democratic-led legislation to repeal the state’s abortion ban—effectively cementing what voters supported in Proposal 3 into state law.
“Michiganders sent a clear message: we deserve to make our own decisions about our bodies,” Whitmer said in April. “Standing up for people’s fundamental freedoms is the right thing to do.”
The billboard campaign also directs travelers to a website detailing “how Michigan voters and Governor Whitmer took Michigan down a path of freedom while Governor DeSantis pushed Florida backward with restrictive abortion bans” following the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Republican state lawmakers in Michigan, meanwhile, are pushing legislation that would effectively walk the state in the opposite direction—repealing reproductive freedoms and reinstating an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest. With Democrats in control of the state Legislature, those Republican proposals have no chance of becoming law this year.