The women’s question. 

One day over dinner, I learned from my mother that all the women in our family had terminated their pregnancies. This fact struck me very deeply. Not because of the medical operation itself, but because of how taboo this topic is, that women only share it with each other in extreme situations. Then I realized how difficult this topic is for every woman. I have always been amazed that the majority of those who seek to ban abortion throughout the world are men. 

My project consists only of stories of women who told what they went through during pregnancy surgery and how it affected them. The issue of abortion is very acute in Russia and in the world. Every now and then they return to it both at the state level and at the level of conversations in the church or individual initiatives. 

Since 2023, Russian government officials, mostly men, have begun to put forward one initiative after another, tightening the right to abortion and the freedom to decide on it. One of the new laws was a fine for “inducing abortion.” The law is written so vaguely that even an ordinary conversation between a doctor and a woman can fall under it and become punishable. The consequences of the introduction of such a fine were not long in coming, and some women in several regions of Russia found themselves without the opportunity to terminate their pregnancy. Private clinics refused to carry out these operations, since the attention of government officials was especially focused on them. To terminate a pregnancy in a public clinic, a woman needs to undergo several mandatory procedures, such as talking with a clergyman, a psychologist, a therapist, and taking a week of silence. Often, undergoing these mandatory procedures leads to the fact that the time limit for the operation becomes critical for women and they do not have time to do it. Many doctors do not hide the fact that the instructions to reduce abortions and delay terms were given to them by the heads of hospitals, and also by legislators. All this is being done to improve the demographic situation in the country, which is becoming critical and aggravated due to the war in Ukraine.

Russia has already gone through a historical period when abortion was prohibited. Then, between 1936 and 1955, the mortality rate due to clandestine abortions among women doubled. This experience taught nothing to legislators or the public, which is demanding control over birth rates and women’s decisions. 

“The women’s question” is the stories of women who had an abortion and decided to share what they experienced — in order to show that the right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy should remain only with the woman.