Planned Parenthood has teamed up with a group of artists to create a virtual reality experience in the hopes of eliciting empathy and educating people on the harsh realities faced by women who seek care from the institution.
Oftentimes Planned Parent buildings are surrounded by protesters seeking to intimidate and shame women who are visiting the clinic for serious medical issues, their main concern being the halting of abortion. These protesters are unwavering in their opposition to the healthcare service that all women should be entitled to, posing a safety concern, both physically and emotionally.
The organization is taking to VR as a way of showing people what these women must go through in order to get the services they need.
Across the Line is a collaborative project by artists Nonny de la Pena, Brad Lichtenstein, and Jeff Fitzsimmons, ringing in at a full seven minutes spent inside a patient’s shoes as she seeks medical attention.
The video begins in a consultation room at Planned Parenthood where the patient is meeting with a doctor, visibly shaken after encountering protesters on her way in. The experience then moves backwards in time, showing the patient’s drive to PP as a sea of protesters line the streets and the surrounding area of the clinic.
The patient asks one of the protesters for directions, and instead he tries to talk her out of her visit. Once she finally makes her way into the parking lot, walking to the front door, she is again bombarded with shouts of religious anger and taunted with name-calling, including “whore” and “slut”.
The experience uses actual recordings from anti-abortion protests, in an attempt to show the very real harassment and abuse that occurs every day outside of PP locations.
Further, instead of simply compiling a video, PP decided to create a virtual reality experiences because studies have found the medium can have a stronger emotional effect on viewers than simple photos and videos. By placing participants in the patient’s shoes, VR lets the user comprehend the full gravity of the situation faced by these brave women.
One can only hope the game will be successful in inspiring empathy in those who seek to shame Planned Parenthood patients, potentially serving as a vehicle for social reform and the de-stigmatization of abortion.
Across the Line can be viewed using Google Clipboard or other compatible VR headsets, as well as viewed in video format here: