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By Lorry Kikta | November 17, 2019

The 14th amendment to the United States Constitution stands alone as a wonderful sentiment. It states in Section 1, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

“From the moment an egg is fertilized, it becomes a human being, according to members of the Personhood movement…”

The thing is that ever since the words have been written, the definition of who is considered a “person” has changed. Originally, women weren’t considered “persons,” nor were African Americans who arrived in this country as slaves. Thankfully we have evolved enough as a nation to have defined all human beings born in the United States as  “persons” who are generally, theoretically, afforded the rights and protections as everyone else. Some (including me) feel that some people aren’t treated equally, whether it be immigrants or members of the LGBTQ+ community, but that’s a story for another time.

What Jo Ardinger’s documentary Personhood takes a glance at is the rising number of state laws questioning the personhood of what some people determine an unprotected class, the fetus. Oh yay, unborn children, the bread and butter of the religious right! From the moment an egg is fertilized, it becomes a human being, according to members of the Personhood movement, led by Keith Mason (is it even remotely shocking that the leader of said movement is a man?) and urged forward by religious zealots and right-wingers across our fair nation. Several states, including Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Alabama, all have or had laws in place which state that a fetus is a person, and if it is harmed in any way, it is to be protected in the same way as someone who is standing next to you, outside the confines of a human uterus.

Personhood (2019)

Directed and Written: Jo Ardinger

Starring: Tamara Loertscher, Cherisse Scott, Sara Ainsworth, Freya Bowen, Lynn Paltrow, Keith Mason, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

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"…upon disclosing her past to her doctor at her first pregnancy visit, things took a dark turn."

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