Whilst sheep graze in radioactive bomb craters, many in the population of Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan believe that the testing of nuclear weapons is the reason why one in twenty children are born with birth defects. Dr Toleukhan Nurmagambetov, the boss of the city’s maternity clinic, wants to introduce a genetic passport which will prevent those with suspect genes from giving birth.Bibigul Balargazinova — a local woman from the test–site — is pregnant and her “defected and frightful” face arouses the suspicion of local medical staff. Nurmagambetov labels her a genetic failure. He implores Bibigul to get tested and abort the child who he fears will be born disabled, but Bibigul refuses to give up her dream of becoming a mother.
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