Beautiful Sin

A film by Gabriela Quirós

Costa Rica/US | 2014 | 56 minutes | Color | DVD | English/Spanish | Subtitled | Order No. 161185


BEAUTIFUL SIN tells a surprising reproductive rights story, one that resonates from Central America to the United States and beyond.

What if you desperately wanted a baby, but your country and religion prohibited you from trying the one medical treatment that could help you? In 2000, anti-abortion activists, with the help of the Catholic Church and a U.S. group, won a legal case that banned in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Costa Rica and gave the embryo legal rights, making Costa Rica the only country in the world to outlaw the treatment. BEAUTIFUL SIN tells the decade-long story of three couples struggling with infertility who take the Costa Rican government before an international human rights court to demand the right to use IVF.

Filmmaker Gabriela Quirós charts the emotional journey of these couples as they contend with infertility and explores the legal ramifications of reproductive rights. It’s a universal story about what happens when state power and religious ideology clash with the desire to have a child.

Funding for this program was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


"A cautionary tale about what can happen when a religious ideology becomes law."


“Beautiful Sin is a mesmerizing film over a decade in the making. Anyone who is concerned about the state’s control of women’s bodies will find the film chilling."

Lori B. Andrews, Director Institute for Science, Law and Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology

"The film is beautifully crafted. I use it in my Yale seminar course “Reproductive Technologies: Global Perspectives."

Marcia C. Inhorn, Professor Anthropology and International Affairs, Yale University

"Beautiful Sin is a stunning account of the clash between religion and science."

Rosanna Hertz, Films for the Feminist Classroom


  • San Diego Latino Film Festival
  • Cine Las Americas
  • Broadcast on Public Television Stations and World Channel
  • Chicago Latino International Film Festival
  • Cine+Mas San Francisco Latino Film Festival


Gabriela Quirós

Gabriela Quirós has long covered the intersection of science, technology and social change. Since 2006, she has worked as a staff video producer in the science unit at KQED Public Television in San Francisco, where she has directed more than 50 segments and half-hour documentaries and won two regional Emmys. She grew up in Costa Rica and worked there as a print reporter covering health, the environment and politics for Spanish- and English-language newspapers. She holds master’s degrees in journalism and Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley. (2/16)


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