Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, the right to safe and legal abortion is no longer protected by the Constitution.

Amnesty International has teamed up with Norwegian ad agency Anorak, part of The North Alliance (NoA), to create a powerful global campaign challenging the decision which makes it possible for states to remove the right to abortion. The video (shown below) was launched June 24 following the verdict and is currently trending on TikTok, having received 3,3 million views in the first 48 hours.

Directed by Nicolina Knapp and produced by B-Reel Films, the film confronts one of the fundamental truths that Americans tell themselves, that they are ‘the land of the free.’ An axiom so embedded in the fabric of the country that it is a part of the U.S. national anthem.

The film follows four different women and girls of varied circumstances, each facing the consequence of strict abortion laws. This decision will affect millions of women and girls, especially those who are already in vulnerable positions in life, more so now that they will be denied the right to decide their own future.

Replaces the word «Free» with silence 
In the campaign, the “Star Spangled Banner” becomes an elegy for women’s rights. A stark rendition of the anthem performed by award-winning Norwegian artist Emilie Nicolas plays as the scenes depict the subject’s emotional distress, situations of powerlessness, the layers of pain, and struggle of motherhood. Nicolas stops singing where it hurts the most – a deafening silence surrounds the word ‘free’ - the stillness imparting a chilling presence that speaks louder than words.

The idea behind the film came from the realization that there is a great contradiction in that the United States, a nation that speaks louder about freedom than any other nation in the world, is now removing women's freedom to decide over their own bodies.

“The hope for the campaign is to help Amnesty put pressure on those in power and all Americans in general and give them an opportunity to reflect on whether they can still call themselves ‘the Land of the Free,’” says Anorak’s Peter Power, who was part of the creative team.  

The reality of the verdict
Given the severity of the topic, Nicolina Knapp approached the film with humility and reverence. “Cinematically, I wanted the shots to feel raw, honest and unexpected, in order to accurately depict the reality of the characters’ trauma and internal conflict,” states Nicolina. “The core strengths that make these women stand out and carry their emotions on their sleeve; it is something you can’t always touch, but that you can sense.”

When the news broke, Amnesty published the video on TikTok where it is currently receiving massive engagement with 12,000 comments and over 1000 reaction videos from people from all over the world. While some are writing captions like “We are not free,” and “it feels like a movie, it can’t be real,” others are offering American women housing if they ever need to leave the country to undergo a safe abortion. Watch the viral video here.  

Sends a strong message to governors  
The campaign will run on digital and social in more than ten countries, across multiple continents, and has been translated into six languages, including Chinese.  

The video also includes a petition to protect the right to safe abortion in the US, targeting individual state governments working to expand or restrict access to abortion. By contacting the governors of the states directly, Amnesty aims to influence those who hold the key to securing the right to safe and legal abortion.  

“The unthinkable has happened, and there is an urgent need to create international pressure - especially on the 22 states that have passed laws that completely or partially prohibit abortion. I hope people get involved and sign our campaign on,” says Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Amnesty Camilla Kolverud. 

Watch “The Land of the Unfree” below or on YouTube here.