How to Make an Abortion Clinic Beautiful

AP/Rogelio V. Solis
AP/Rogelio V. Solis
Jackson, MS

They dramatically call it the “last abortion clinic in Mississippi.” There’s even a documentary about it.

After years of protests and legislative regulations have closed all the other abortion clinics in the state, the shocking-pink Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the last one—and it may be headed for reconstruction to make it “extraordinarily beautiful.” reports that architecture professor Lori Brown is working with the clinic owners to redesign the clinic’s exterior. She even organized an event at the New School in New York City—”Private Choices/Public Spaces“—at which proposals were heard for the new design.

One idea was for “an inflatable kind of compound” that would allow the owners to “monitor noise level and presence level and inflate and deflate as the intensity of the protest and noise increased or decreased. The sense would be an almost moving object, an art piece.”

Another idea was for “a series of water elements around the clinic… there would be a cooling effect during the hot months of the year.” She said, “it would be so interesting to have that placed within the context of this kind of vitriol and sometimes hatred coming from one side of the fence.”

She told Salon, “Others dealt more with landscape, living and green walls that also had sound-dampening layers within them. Some were very beautiful walls that were sculptural and would really protect the clinic. Not necessarily a castle’s fortress walls, but not that dissimilar conceptually.”

The interview in Salon did not discuss the cost of such renovation, which would probably be exorbitant. Putting aside the cost of construction, architects alone are very expensive.

Abortion advocates complain that the rafts of new State regulations requiring clinics to widen their hallways to accommodate hospital gurneys, among many, are too financially burdensome. They say such new regulations are causing clinics to close.

In this context, it is hard to see how the last abortion clinic in Mississippi or any abortion clinic could afford such essentially superficial but wildly expensive changes as “water elements,” “living and green walls,” or even to be “inflatable.”