Between right and shame
Two years ago, I learned from my mother that she had an abortion experience in her past. I began to ask her. Mom spoke reluctantly, almost in a whisper. Abortion” is a taboo word for many women in Belarus. They try either not to pronounce it or replace it with another word. Almost none of the women in the country do not even admit to themselves that they have such experience.
In Belarus, abortion is not prohibited. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2016, 27,467 abortions were made. In Belarus, there are 23.5 abortions per 100 births. Approximately 40% of women interrupt pregnancy for economic reasons. According to the latest changes in the law, the doctor may refuse to have an abortion. Every year there are weeks without abortions in Belarus. The chief freelance obstetrician-gynecologist of Minsk offered to consider the issue of depriving commercial medical centers of licenses for pregnancy terminating. In the city of Logoisk, all doctors refused to carry out abortions even when there were legal grounds for doing so.
In clinics appeared pre-abortion consultations. But in most cases a woman could not receive psychological assistance in those rooms in order to meet the right for her decision. A woman is pressured and persuaded to give birth. There are not special groups in which women could experience both hypothetical abortion and its consequences.
The project tells several women stories who chosed abortion as an option according to different reasons. “I allow you to shoot my back — no need to shoot my face” – only under this condition one of the heroines agreed to participate in the project. Almost all women took painfully even the very probability of face showing. Each of them has her own history, which she will live and experience throughout the whole life: the Chernobyl tragedy, a violence case, an early pregnancy occurrence, a difficult birth episode, an life threatening illness happening, fear of loneliness, an experience of husband cheating or an accident of material difficulties.
For them, participation in a project is an opportunity to summarize their experiences and be heard. The topic of abortion is not only about choosing to give birth or not. This is about how women and men are building their relations in the country, this is about the real women status in Belarusian society.