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On Mother Teresa

June 19, 1988

Mother Teresa is patently a good woman doing compassionate work among the poor. But it is misleading of your reporter to state that she "would not discuss politics." ("The Radical Simplicity of Mother Teresa" by Paul Dean, June 3). Her stock answer about her decision to work to alleviate poverty rather than fight it is a political statement. And so is her constant public stand against abortion.

Certainly, any issue that involves the law, and the spending of public money, must be seen to be political. Feminists believe abortion must be readily available to all women, including the poor, through public health funding. Anti-abortionists do not. Both sides in a democracy are entitled to argue their cases in the public arena, to try to convince others of their viewpoint.

Once the church (or its individual member) goes public to try to convince anyone beyond its own believers to its point of view on abortion, and once it tries to pressure voters and legislators to change laws that affect every American, it has entered the political arena. Here it deserves no special consideration but should be regarded like any other organization with a political viewpoint. Even if its spokeswoman is Mother Teresa.

R.P. STONE

West Los Angeles

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