When Samantha Blakely discovered she was pregnant after being raped by her coworker at 23, she stood in the shower and screamed her lungs out.
Immediately, she knew she only had one choice.
The now 25-year-old, who resides in the conservative southern US state of Alabama, googled her options. She looked at dangerous pills, natural remedies and even a tea from China that could reportedly induce labor – she’d do just about anything to stop her rapist’s child coming into the world.
Finally, after three frantic days of searching, Samantha learned that there was an abortion clinic close to her in Montgomery. Following several days off work, hours spent sitting in crowded waiting rooms, a session of mandatory counselling and a $600 lump sum, Samantha had an abortion. Her nightmare was finally over.
On SBS’s Dateline, Walkley award-winning journalist Laura Murphy-Oates reports from Alabama to investigate the divisive new laws. Post continues after video.
If Samantha’s situation happened today, however, her story would have been very different.
Under Alabama’s tough new abortion laws, Samantha Blakely would have been forced to carry her rapist’s child.
Speaking to the 25-year-old on tonight’s episode of Dateline, Walkley award-winning journalist Laura Murphy-Oates discovered that it was a situation that Samantha simply would not have been able to bear.
“She says in very stark and upsetting terms that she would have rather have died than done that,” Laura told Mamamia.
“When you look at it from that perspective, that’s another terribly tough situation that women could experience if that law was to come into effect.”
What are the new abortion laws in the US?
In the past few months, a number of US states have passed legislation that will make terminating an unwanted pregnancy illegal.
Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota and Missouri are just some of the states in the United States that have introduced legislation to restrict abortion rights this year.
In Alabama, in particular, the new bill is the strictest anti-abortion law in the country.
The new legislation in Alabama allows no exemption for cases of rape or incest. This means that doctors who perform an abortion in Alabama could face up to 99 years in prison – a longer sentence than those convicted of rape.
But even before the new laws were announced, logistics already made it incredibly hard for women to get an abortion in those states.