2020’s “Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women In America” Gives Context to Recent Texas Abortion Ban

  • 3 years ago
SDFF 2020 Selection Gives Insight Into Increasing Restrictions on Women’s Bodily Autonomy, Self-Determination, Citizenship

The recent Texas abortion ban granting private citizens the right to report/penalize anyone aiding or abetting a woman seeking an abortion after just 6 weeks of pregnancy, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let the law stand, are the most recent in an ongoing battle over legal abortion at the national level in the U.S. While the Texas ban has made headlines, the court has already agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case that challenges Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, and a far more direct threat to Roe v. Wade, the case that has enshrined a woman’s right to choose since the early 70s. These threat follow on the heals of a number of similar laws that have slowly chipped away at abortion rights over the past decade or more. These laws don’t just make it more difficult for women to receive an abortion, they speak to women’s self-determination, bodily autonomy and citizenship.

For more context on the relationship between women’s health, self-determination and citizenship, revisit SDFF2020 selection Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women In America (Jo Ardinger, 2019). Personhood tells a story that ripples far beyond the right to choose and into the lives of every pregnant person in America. It focuses on Tammy Loertscher, whose fetus was given to an attorney, while the courts denied Tammy her constitutional rights. In this timely documentary, we see her sent to jail, and then forced to challenge a Wisconsin law that eroded her privacy, her right to due process, and her body sovereignty. Personhood reveals the danger of fetal rights laws which now exist in thirty-eight states. These little known laws encourage the surveillance and criminalization of pregnant women, while disproportionately targeting lower income women and women of color. These laws lie at the intersection of the erosion of women’s rights, the war on drugs, and our mass incarceration complex. Personhood is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

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