Between right and shame

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.