Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women in America

“Your Honor, under Wisconsin statute 48.133, we are requesting temporary physical custody of the unborn child whose mother is Tamara Loertscher.”—litigator

Tammy Loertscher was living in Wisconsin, she was not aware of the draconian laws the state enacted to gain control of in utero human fetuses. When she simply, innocently asked questions and expressed concerns to her doctor about her first pregnancy, she found herself in a Kafkaesque world. Her unborn human was no longer hers. She didn’t know that Wisconsin was a ‘fetal personhood’ State, and that the State can prosecute women for miscarriages, stillbirths, and using drugs while pregnant. Wisconsin prosecuted Tammy for allegations that she used drugs during her pregnancy. The pregnant mother even experienced a stent in jail. This mother fought back.

In Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women in America filmmaker Jo Ardinger tells Tammy’s epic story of reclaiming her rights as a woman and mother, shares stories of other mothers’ experiences, and interviews two key heroes:

Cherisse Scott of Sister Reach, and Lynn M. Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Paltrow’s career began as a fight for the right to choose abortion. Ironically, many of her clients were passionately against abortion, yet she received cases of women who had no intention to abort their pregnancy. Instead, these were women who used illegal drugs, and/or alcohol, or women who decided to delay cesarean surgery, and they knew they were in danger. Making matters worse, these women learned to not tell their doctors about their behavior for fear of prosecution and findings of guilt. Also, some charges against pregnant women were trumped.

The fundamental question the people and government of the United States faces is whether or not women who become pregnant lose their personhood rights. At the moment, 38 States treat fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses as ‘persons’—potential victims of a crime. Even women who have not used drugs or alcohol are being targeted. The State prosecutes pregnant women on the faux base of alleged child abuse and similar crimes. How many potential or current pregnant mothers know about what they may be facing?

Ardinger’s very well crafted film shines a light on this hidden world of veritable ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ oppression. Not just mothers and potential mothers, this is a crucial film all Americans to see.

Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women in America is available from Apple TV, iTunes, and Amazon Prime Video






(Pictured: Tammy Loertscher and child—courtesy of ‘Personhood’)

Please Login to leave your comments