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'Birth Control as Penalty'

June 22, 1988

The article "Birth Control as Penalty for Child Abuse" by Alan Dershowitz (Op-Ed Page, June 4) brought to mind my days as a Catholic college student where the dean of students, a wise old nun, lectured, too frequently we thought, but her words were full of wisdom and they were, "People who have rights also have responsibilities." Over the years her words have remained a part of my life.

I think the same advice applies to the young girl who abandoned her children. Think of the psychological damage to all the individuals involved in child abandonment--of the sadness, guilt, and frustration which the young mother must feel. I see the judge's penalty under the circumstances as putting a latch on someone, who at this point in her life has no control over her reproductive capabilities. Certainly this is a revocable judgment if and when the girl can demonstrate adult responsibility.

Prof. Dershowitz may lecture eloquently at Harvard but I wonder if he has been faced with the nitty-gritty, day-to-day rearing of a child as a single parent? It's tough. I'm doing it and I wholeheartedly support Judge Lindsay Budzyn's decision. At the same time I empathize with the young mother and hope that the judge's decision becomes a maturing experience for her.

SYDELL STOKES

Simi Valley

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