Laura Dern stars as Ruth Stoops, an inhalant abusing young woman who finds out that she's pregnant with her fifth child. While the state has stripped the visitation privileges to her other kids, this time the judge charges her with felony criminal endangerment of her foetus.
The judge also tells her, however, that if she gets an abortion they'll be more lenient with her. This angers members of a pro-life group, the 'Baby Savers,' including Gail Stoney (Mary Kay Place) whom she meets while in jail. Gail and her husband post bail and Ruth goes to live with them. Soon they're taking her to pro-life protests at a woman's clinic, but her continuing use of inhalants causes them to kick her out of their home.
Another pro-lifer, Diane (Swoosie Kurtz), takes Ruth home, but she turns out to be an undercover pro-choice activist. From then on the two sides, including "Baby Savers" president Blaine Gibbons (Burt Reynolds), battle for control of Ruth's conscience and her foetus.