2020 Photo Contest, Portraits, 2nd Prize

Between Right and Shame


Tatsiana Tkachova

05 October, 2018

Alina (35) fell pregnant soon after she started living with her future husband and had an abortion because she couldn’t see the two of them as parents. She was reluctant to do so, but felt the responsibility for the decision was hers. After they married, the relationship deteriorated and her husband raped her repeatedly. Alina was too frightened to go to the police, and had two further abortions because she did not want his child, giving a false name at the clinic as she thought doctors would condemn her.

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
Fujifilm X100T

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