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Controversy Over Abortion

October 21, 1988

It angered me to read your editorial "Give It Up" (Sept. 26).

I have always reluctantly believed that a woman has a conditional right to abort her unborn child. But those who believe otherwise ask extremely relevant moral and ethical questions for which I, among many, seek answers. It therefore pains me to read your arrogant, five-paragraph dismissal of sincere, well-intentioned efforts of those who profoundly believe abortion is murder. You've contributed nothing to an intelligent discussion of this issue.

Do you argue that state officials should never challenge judicial decisions, or only the unpopular ones? Surely many recall your repeated indefatigable encouragements of costly efforts seeking to overturn capital punishment, long sanctioned by the courts, the electorate, and the general public.

Even if the governor's Department of Health Services fails in getting the current state Court of Appeal to reverse itself on restricting taxpayer-funded abortions, it has every right to promulgate its positions before the public, and no forum is as conducive to discursive argument on a subject of this magnitude than a court of law. This is hardly a frivolous waste of money as The Times implies.

You have often stated that no legal rights are absolute. So maybe the competing interests of those who defend reproductive choice and those who defend the unborn will never be reconciled. But we betray our democratic ideals if we shy away from difficult moral questions, especially one as polarizing as abortion.

JOSEPH D. PHILLIPS

Montrose

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