Should the state have power to override a woman’s constitutional rights during pregnancy?
This question sounds straight from The Handmaid's Tale, but it’s actually being debated right now in legislatures and courtrooms across the country. PERSONHOOD traces the rise of the fetal rights movement and reveals a widening web of laws that encourage the surveillance and criminalization of pregnant women. Thirty-eight states now have fetal protection laws which give fetuses legal rights separate from the mother. These laws reach far beyond the right to choose and threaten a woman's constitutional rights during pregnancy.
We began this film five years ago with a clear goal to change the conversation around women's reproductive freedom. PERSONHOOD follows the story of a young mother from rural Wisconsin whose life was upended by the state’s 'Unborn Child Protection Act.' After seeking medical care upon discovering she was pregnant, Tammy Loertscher unwittingly set off a nightmarish chain of events that stripped her of her rights and ultimately sent her to jail – all for behavior that occurred before she even knew she was pregnant.
PERSONHOOD asks the alarming question—could this happen to you?
Please watch the film's teaser here:
At the intersection of the war on women, the war on drugs, and our mass incarceration complex, fetal "personhood" laws are being used to deny pregnant women due process, send them to jail, or coerce them into unwanted medical procedures. And marginalized women are paying the heaviest price.
PERSONHOOD is an urgent story about a little known ripple effect of anti-choice campaigns. As we filmed around the country, we captured insight from lawmakers, doctors, and citizens from all walks of life. The devastating effects of these laws on women and families are rarely covered by mainstream media. We want to change that. Tammy's story gives voice to thousands of American women whose personal stories never make headlines.
At early screenings, viewers express anger and surprise about what's happening around the country. NOW is the time to bring this conversation out of the political shadows, so women don't wake up one day as permanent second-class citizens.
JOIN OUR PERSONHOOD FOR WOMEN COMMUNITY!!
You can help spread the word about this disturbing legal trend! Together, we can amplify the struggle that women trapped in this system of laws face – and counteract the forces that dehumanize pregnant women by treating them as human incubators.
We are so close to finishing this film, and we can do it with your support! To get to this point we've already had amazing support from Women in Film, Women Make Movies, American Documentary Film Festival, 4Culture, Seattle City Arts, as well as many generous individual supporters. So what's left? Editing, music, sound design, and all the final details that go into making a film. Please join the PERSONHOOD team so we can get this film out there and start to have an impact.
To finish this film we need to raise $43,000. Here's how the numbers break down:
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT THE FILM:
- MAKE A PLEDGE!! Take a look at our exciting REWARDS section and choose a pledge level! Through the generosity of artists, authors, and reproductive justice s/heroes, we've put together a collection of awesome ways to show you our deep gratitude.
- SHARE OUR PROJECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA!! Even if you can't make a pledge of financial support, you can help our campaign be a success by sharing our project with your network! Spreading the word will help build our audience and raise awareness about this important issue. Make sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!!
With your support, we'll finish the film in time for a fall 2018 premiere. We plan to screen at film festivals throughout the country, and with the support of outreach partners we’ll embark on a community screenings tour. We especially want to bring the film to the states and communities most affected by fetal protection laws.
Our goal is to use the film as a tool to educate and raise awareness about an issue that has been called the country's next constitutional crisis. With that in mind, we'll also bring the film to policy makers and influencers with an eye on impacting policy. Big dreams! Let’s work together to protect every woman’s PERSONHOOD!
JO ARDINGER, Director/Producer ROSALIE MILLER, Producer
Jo Ardinger is a Seattle filmmaker, founder of Tandybrook Productions, and fierce advocate for reproductive justice. Jo is an award-winning editor specializing in documentary and fiction storytelling. Her recent documentary editing credits include Imba Means Sing (Best Humanitarian Documentary, Global Film Awards, 2016), Into Deepest Space (PBS) and Papa Boss (PBS). The short documentary she edited, Beyond The Visible: The Story of the Very Large Array, is a Telly, CINE Golden Eagle, and Interpretive Media Award recipient. Jo is also a guest instructor at the University of Washington, where she teaches digital storytelling in science.
Rosalie Miller is an award-winning filmmaker, video producer, and co-founder of Wanderhouse Productions. She is currently in production on her second short documentary, Worth My Salt, a 2017 GAP Award recipient and 2016 4Culture Artist Award recipient. Her first short documentary, The Things We Keep, premiered at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival and took home Best Short Documentary (West Virginia Filmmakers Festival, 2016). The film has been distributed by Alaska Airlines and KCTS9 Reel NW (PBS). Past producing credits include short drama, Iron, supported by 4Culture and Decimation, winner of a 2013 SIFF ‘Jury Award'.
We are so fortunate to have a mighty team of talented artists and advisors working with us to make this film a reality!
Marc Pingry, Cinematographer
Nils Cowan, Story Consultant
David Zieff, Consulting Editor
Leah Trangen, Assistant Editor
Leah Warshawski, Co-Executive Producer
Peter Adkison, Co-Executive Producer
Stefan Hajek, Consulting Producer
Clementine Briand, Associate Producer
Marcy Bloom, Advisor
Rhenda Meiser, Advisor
Jon Betz, Advisor
Warren Etheredge, Advisor
SPECIAL THANKS to our contributing artists, Abdul Mazid and Gill Dreher! Please visit their websites linked here to see more of their incredible work.
A LITTLE PIECE OF OUR JOURNEY!!
Jo & Rosalie at our first pitch at Big Sky International Documentary Film Festival!
Interviewing Cherisse Scott, CEO & Founder of SisterReach in Memphis, TN
Jo with our illustrious Cinematographer, Marc Pingry!
Rosalie Getting B-Camera Action!
All hands on deck with Vicki Cowert, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Interviewing Freya Bowen, one of Tammy's attorneys, in Wisconsin
Being cheesy after a challenging shoot in Wisconsin!
Talking with Sara Ainsworth, former Director of Legal Advocacy at NAPW!
Getting it just right!
Election Day in Denver
With Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) in Colorado celebrating the defeat of Amendment 67
- FALL IS HERE & TOTES ARE ON THE WAY! [10/03/2018]
- HAPPY JULY + UPDATES! [07/02/2018] [Edited: 10/03/2018]
- HAPPY JULY + UPDATES! [07/02/2018] [Edited: 10/03/2018]
- AWESOME NEW PERK OPPORTUNITY! [03/11/2018] [Edited: 10/03/2018]
- Twice As Nice! Matching Gift for Giving Tuesday [03/06/2018]
- PERSONHOOD Doc Featured in Women and Hollywood Article [02/27/2018] [Edited: 10/03/2018]
- The Conversations Have Started! [02/23/2018] [Edited: 07/02/2018]