Across the Line is an immersive virtual reality experience that combines 360°video and computer generated imaging (CGI) to put viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. Using real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes, and documentary footage, the film is a powerful hybrid documentary-fiction depiction of the gauntlet that many abortion providers, health center staff, and patients must walk on a typical day in America.
The experience consists of three scenes. We begin inside the health center, finding ourselves in an exam room with a young woman and a compassionate doctor. The scene fades as we travel back in time to follow the patient and her friend as they drive up to a health center lined with protesters holding graphic signs and shouting.
The final scene uses computer-generated graphics. The viewer becomes the patient and must navigate a group of intimidating protesters shouting highly offensive remarks aimed at shaming and stigmatizing the patient. The audio montage, captured from protesters across the country, anchors the viewers experience in the reality of what thousands of people across the country face during anti-abortion protests outside of health centers.
Across the Line comes during a critical moment of attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights. States have passed over 400 restrictions on abortion since 2011 and Congress voted 19 times in 2015 alone to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. More than half of American women of reproductive age now live in states where access to abortion is being restricted by their state legislatures. This is despite the fact that one in four women in this country decide to end a pregnancy. By confronting the stigma around that decision and documenting tactics of anti-abortion activists, this experience amplifies the conversation around safe and legal abortion.