Experiencing Interruptions?


After the railroad forces her alcoholic husband to move North, Ruth DeLay­–a pregnant, destitute mother of four–desperately seeks an unregulated abortion in order for her family to survive the Great Depression. Ruth is based on a true story.

Summary: During the Great Depression, thousands of women died from unregulated abortions–their death certificates read: “Cause of Death: Sepsis, Kidney Failure” instead of “Cause of Death: Unregulated Abortion.” Ruth Delay was one of these women. Inspired by a true story and Ruth Delay’s actual letters written from 1929-1938, “Ruth” leads us through her desperate journey of: taking "Female Elixirs" made of turpentine, experiencing lead poisoning and sepsis from flushing her uterus with water from old pipes, and enduring an unregulated abortion performed by a Doctor who arrived too late.

  • Shannon Jarrell-Ivey
    Ruth, La Llorona, Region 8
  • Shannon Jarrell-Ivey
    La Llorona, Region 8, Days of Our Lives
  • Shannon Nelson
    Key Cast
    Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Practice, West Wing, ER
  • Daniel Saunders
    Key Cast
  • Stephen Ivey
    Key Cast
    American Crude
  • Matthew Guthrie
    QT8: The First Eight, La Llorona
  • Jeremy Ward
    QT8: The First Eight, 21 Years: Richard Linklater, La Llorona, Mr. Sam
  • Rolando Gori
    Mr. Sam
  • Phil Curry
    Get Naked, From the Dead, The Transcendence
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Shannon Jarrell-Ivey

Shannon Ivey works as a writer, director, actress, and CEO of Theatre For Change-a 501c3 committed to linking social injustice to film and theatre in North America. Shannon has devoted her life to arts for social change and continues to give voice to victims of human trafficking, abuse and neglect, domestic violence, childhood cancer, foster children, and immigrants along the Texas border.

Shannon holds a double B.A. from The University of the Incarnate Word and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from University of California, Irvine. She has worked professionally as an actress, writer, director, and producer in Texas, New York and Los Angeles for ABC, CBS, CW, Showtime, WB and Equity Houses all over the country.

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Director Statement

I was in my twenties when my mother told me my maternal great-grandmother Ruth died of a “botched, back-alley abortion” in 1938; a secret my grandmother revealed on her deathbed. In 2018, 80 years later, I was given a cigar box full of letters written by Ruth to her abusive husband during The Great Depression.

From her words, our short film Ruth was born.

Since we began working on Ruth, and diving into the discouraging history of women’s healthcare in America, our team has been challenged by one truth: even after Roe v. Wade, an American woman’s choice for safe, clean, respectable healthcare is still limited, stigmatizing, and often lethal.

In our state of Texas, women are driving hundreds of miles to receive pre-natal care and boasts one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the USA. The Texas Policy Evaluation Project at UT-Austin found 6.9 percent of 721 patients seeking abortion tried to end their pregnancies on their own before going to an abortion clinic, compared to 2.2 percent nationally-which means dangerous DIY abortions are on the rise. After our most recent sweep of legislation, only six clinics remain in Texas for women to receive safe, regulated abortions.

Our women are dying and we need help.

In solidarity with the women before me, the women who remain, and the women yet to come, thank you so much for your interest in Ruth.

We are so humbled and grateful that "Ruth" has garnered awards and is now an official selection of: WorldFest-Houston International Film and Video Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, Florence Film Awards, Prague International Indie Film Festival, and Independent Shorts Awards