The divisive issue of abortion is at the center of Citizen Ruth, a political satire that attempts to subject both pro-choice and pro-life forces to equal ridicule. Laura Dern portrays Ruth Stoops, an irresponsible, unemployed woman who's addicted to inhaling household chemicals and has becomes pregnant, for the fifth time.
After she is arrested for substance abuse, the judge offers to lessen her sentence if Ruth chooses to abort her child. Ruth agrees, but that night she encounters a group of pro-life activists.
They take her under their wing, promising to help her, while secretly planning to make her case public as a symbol for the pro-life movement . When Ruth discovers the deception, she takes refuge with a pro-choice group, sparking a media frenzy. Yet Ruth soon finds her new friends are also only interested in her value as a media icon.
Realizing she has been used as a pawn in the abortion rights battle, the apolitical Ruth turns the tables, offering to join whoever will give her the best deal. What results is a frantic, comedic session of wheeling-dealing which argues that activists on both sides have become more concerned with waging political warfare than helping women.