I was a few weeks into my summer-long stay in Lima when I was drugged and raped. I don't remember much —
Though abortion isn't illegal in the U.S., Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws across the nation — like the ones Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) recently implemented and the Texas one that the Supreme Court just protected — threaten women's ability to access abortion care even in instances of assault like mine.
TRAP laws, often introduced under the guise of protecting women, hold clinics to outlandish regulatory standards, forcing them to increase their costs, or even close their doors. As a result of these closures, some women now have to drive hundreds of miles just to get to the closest clinic.
This isn't just inconvenient, it's devastating. As Kellie Copeland of National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (
While I ended up finding ways to make my time in Peru positive, and I truly love parts of the culture, I hated how alienated I felt by their staunch stances on reproductive health, which prevented me from accessing the services I needed. (I also rarely had internet access, was being hosted by a devoutly religious family, and didn't even know of a doctor to go to if I had a fever.) If I had been pregnant, I would have either had to carry my rapist's baby or spend thousands to get back to the States in time to terminate the pregnancy.
But would the U.S. really have been a better place to deal with an unwanted pregnancy? The TRAP laws which have caused over 50 clinics in the U.S. to shut down in the past year are a sneakier way of alienating and shaming women who want autonomy over their bodies, but that is what they do nonetheless.
These laws disproportionately affect women who are already in difficult positions
I'll always feel lucky to live in a country that affords me freedoms I would not have if I lived elsewhere. But, the more I think about TRAP laws, the more I wonder if the major thing separating us from countries that outlaw abortion outright is the fact that we aren't honest about it.