2020 Photo Contest, Portraits, Stories, Nominee

Between Right and Shame

Photographer

Tatsiana Tkachova

22 April, 2018

Natalia (62) was pregnant at the time of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Although the baby was born healthy, she didn’t dare risk another pregnancy as she feared the effects of radiation. She also felt she could not cope with two children, so had an abortion the second time she conceived.

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
640
Camera
Fujifilm X-T10

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