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Abortions Of Last Resort

February 18, 1990

The author did not clearly point out that women such as "Agnes" would decide to be sterilized and have no children at all if not for the availability of abortion to detect a fetus with a severe defect like the one her baby had. This allows her to have a baby who won't die. Babies with Tay-Sachs disease are born normal but start to go downhill at about age 1, and all of them die by age 4. And babies born without a brain (anencephaly) die within a week of being born. Military hospitals will not do abortions even in these cases. Women have to go elsewhere for an abortion or have the baby, and the parents and child suffer the consequences.

MARSHA EPSTEIN, MD

Los Angeles

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