TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Last year was a record-breaking year for tourism in the Sunshine State.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that the state welcomed 137.6 million visitors in 2022, for a near 13% increase. There were 104.5 million visitors in 2021, according to officials.
DeSantis has lauded the record travel numbers, saying tourists have flocked to Florida because the state is free and has a lot to offer, without restrictions.
“People continue to make Florida their vacation destination because they know that in the Free State of Florida, they can enjoy all that we have to offer without mandates or restrictions,” DeSantis said. “Despite the federal government’s attempts to keep our economy stagnant, Florida’s freedom first approach has created an environment that attracts new visitors, fosters new businesses and drives our economy forward.”
But the reason some visitors came to Florida in 2022 may not garner as much praise from DeSantis and conservatives in the state. Florida lawmakers are weighing more restrictions on legal abortions, and the governor has already vowed to approve their plans.
Between 2021 and 2022, “abortion tourism,” the number of people who traveled to Florida for an abortion, increased by 38%, according to data from the Agency for Health Care Administration.
The data shows 4,873 non-Floridians came to the state for abortions in 2021, and more than 6,700 did in 2022. This occurred even after Florida passed and enacted a statewide ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The bulk of abortions performed in Florida were for residents, with only six counties in the whole state reporting fewer than 20 abortions in total.
In 2022, there were 82,192 abortions performed in the state, meaning almost 92% were for residents across the 67 counties. The county with the most abortions in 2022 was Miami-Dade, with 15,595 abortions performed over the year.
The same was true in 2021, when Miami-Dade had 14,643 abortions performed over that calendar year. While Miami-Dade had the highest abortion counts in the state, only Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Lafayette, Liberty, and Union counties had fewer than 20 abortions each.
Here’s how many abortions were performed for Tampa Bay residents in 2022, listed by county.
|County||# of Abortions|