Citizen Ruth is a 1996 comedy film written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne. The film is the directorial debut of Payne. It stars Laura Dern in the title role of a poor, irresponsible and pregnant woman who unexpectedly attracts attention from those involved in the debate about the morality and legality of abortion. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1996. It later opened in limited release in the United States on December 13, 1996.