2020 Photo Contest, Portraits, Stories, 2nd Prize

Between Right and Shame

Photographer

Tatsiana Tkachova

27 September, 2018

Tamara (42) is a doctor and became pregnant in her sixth year at university after an affair with a man from Morocco. In the 1990s in Belarus, she felt people would see that as shameful. She especially feared her father’s reaction and being exposed in a small village. Although she wanted the baby, she did not feel strong or mature enough to stand up for herself and do it alone, so had an abortion in her twelfth week, an act she considered to be murder.

Belarus abortion laws allow termination on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and in certain medical or social circumstances up to 28 weeks, which places them among the most liberal in Europe. Nevertheless, abortion is still a taboo for many women, and many are reluctant to admit they have had a termination. ‘No abortion week’ campaigns are held annually, and the decision to have a termination is often accompanied by a sense of shame. In this project, Belarusian women who have considered or undergone abortion tell their stories. The women had a range of concerns behind their decisions surrounding abortion—from contamination after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to fear of poverty, not wanting to be a single parent, or a background of sexual abuse. As their decisions were often made with difficulty, in this story they did not want to show their faces and their names have been changed.

About the photographer

Tatsiana Tkachova

Tatsiana Tkachova is a photographer based in Minsk, Belarus. Tkachova graduated from the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts with a Culturology Degree in 2014, and...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/250
ISO
800
Camera
Fujifilm X100T

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