The Phoenix Flyer

Billboard outside Orlando airport warns travelers of DeSantis’ anti-abortion policy

By: - May 30, 2023 3:54 pm

The Committee to Protect Health Care, representing medical caretakers, has posted this billboard outside Orlando International Airport. Credit: CPH

Following travel advisories warning visitors that Florida might not be a welcoming place for Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ people, now comes a warning that anyone capable of getting pregnant might also be better off in another state.

Michigan, to be precise, according to a billboard just erected outside Orlando International Airport. It features Dr. Tim Johnson, an OB-GYN in Ann Arbor, Mich., who provides abortions. It urges viewers:

“TURN AROUND! Ron DeSantis is attacking your reproductive rights. Head to Michigan for Patient-Doctor Medical Decisions.”

The reference is to Florida’s new six-week abortion ban, signed into law by Gov. DeSantis following its passage by the state Legislature this spring. It will take effect only if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the state’s earlier-passed 15-week abortion ban. That court has had the case since January and has yet to schedule oral arguments.

The billboard steers viewers to, sponsored by the “the physician led, health care advocacy organization, the Committee to Protect Health Care,” according to a press release by that group.

That site draws attention to the chasm between Florida’s governor, who began a swing Tuesday through early Republican presidential decision states, and Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been much more amendable to reproductive rights.

For example, Whitmer pushed a successful state constitutional amendment affirming abortion rights while DeSantis compared the Florida Supreme Court’s existing abortion-permissive legal precedents to China and North Korea, the website notes.

DeSantis, who formally announced his presidential run last week, doesn’t much talk about the six-week ban anymore, amid speculation it may hurt him in presidential swing states. According to news reports, donors including billionaire Thomas Peterffy, have withheld planned gifts over the abortion issue. Florida Politics, the news site, has obtained an audio recording of DeSantis aides attempting to calm donors’ nerves over the issue.

The committee is a 501(c)(4) organization that “centers medical professionals’ voices to fight for better health care for patients and all persons in the United States. Through earned and paid media, grassroots advocacy campaigns, and other effective advocacy tools, we help pass policies that expand health care and abortion access, while holding anti-health care politicians accountable,” according to its website.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.