In 1987, two university students in an unnamed Romanian town, Otilia Mihartescu and Gabriela “Găbița” Dragut, are roommates in a dormitory. When Găbița becomes pregnant, the two young women arrange a meeting with Mr. Bebe in a hotel, where he is to perform an illegal abortion. At the college dorm, Găbița and Otilia review the items they need for the day. As Găbița nervously sits and waits, Otilia barters and buys soap and cigarettes from the dormitory shop. Afterwards, Otilia takes a bus to visit her boyfriend Adi, from whom she borrows money. Adi asks Otilia to visit his family that night, as it is his mother’s birthday. Otilia initially declines, relenting after Adi becomes upset.
Otilia heads to the Unirea hotel where Găbița has booked a room, only to be informed by an unfriendly receptionist that there is no reservation under Găbița’s last name. Consequently, Otilia visits another hotel, the Tineretului, and after much begging and haggling, is able to book a room at an expensive rate. After speaking with Găbița on the telephone, Otilia goes to a rendezvous point to meet with Mr. Bebe, although he had asked Găbița that she meet him personally. Mr. Bebe grows angry upon hearing that Găbița is not at the planned hotel.
At the Tineretului, Mr. Bebe discovers that Găbița’s claim that her pregnancy was in its second or third month was a lie, and that it has been at least four months. This changes the procedure and also adds the risk of a murder charge. While the two women were certain that they would pay no more than 3,000 lei for the abortion, it slowly becomes clear that Mr. Bebe expects both women to have sex with him. Desperate and distressed, Otilia has sex with Mr. Bebe so that he will not walk out on them, as does Găbița. Mr. Bebe then performs the abortion by injecting a probe and an unnamed fluid into Găbița’s uterus, and leaves Otilia instructions on how to dispose of the fetus when it comes out. Otilia is exasperated by Găbița’s lies, yet continues to help and care for her.
Otilia leaves Găbița at the Tineretului to attend Adi’s mother’s birthday party. She is still disturbed but stays and has dinner with Adi’s mother’s friends, who are mostly doctors. They converse about trivial matters while Otilia and Adi remain silent. After Otilia accepts a cigarette in front of Adi’s parents, one of the guests starts talking about lost values and respect for elders. Adi and Otilia retreat to his room, where she tells him about Găbița’s abortion. They begin debating what would happen if it were Otilia who was pregnant, as Adi is opposed to abortion. After the argument, Otilia calls Găbița from Adi’s house. Găbița does not answer, so Otilia decides to return to the hotel.
When Otilia enters the hotel room Găbița is lying on the bed, and she tells Otilia that the fetus has been expelled and is in the bathroom. Otilia wraps the fetus with some towels and puts it in a bag, while Găbița asks her to bury it. Otilia walks outside, finally climbing to the top of a building, as Mr. Bebe had suggested, and dropping the bag in a trash chute. She returns to the Tineretului and finds Găbița sitting in its restaurant. Otilia sits and tells Găbița that they are never going to talk about the episode again. Otilia stares blankly at Găbița.