MORNING-AFTER MEASURES

THANKS FOR A COMPELLING ACCOUNT OF one woman's desperate and humiliating quest to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after the fact [Postmodern, September 19]. It is beyond irony that the hurdles she must leap to obtain available morning-after remedies are erected by the very people who most oppose abortion.

It is, after all, the antiabortion lobby that has created the "climate hostile to any post-coital contraceptive" that Liza Mundy describes. And its influence has rendered drug companies "too craven" to let women know a remedy is right there in their very own birth control pill packets.

But while Mundy blames the drug makers for keeping mum about morning-after options while peddling Viagra like crazy, she should take them to task as well for failing to produce more effective contraception options. Apparently, marketing virility to men is more fun and profitable than coming to the rescue of women coping with its results.

GRETCHEN COOK

Washington

"DIALING FOR DELIVERANCE" MADE THE erroneous statement that the morning-after pill does not terminate an "established pregnancy" because the fertilized egg is not implanted in the womb before it is destroyed. This lie attempts to deceive pregnant women into aborting.

A unique human being is formed at fertilization the moment the male sperm unites with the female egg in the outer reaches of the fallopian tube. All that individual needs from that first moment in the fallopian tube to develop fully is time, nutrition and shelter.

Women whose eggs have been fertilized and use the morning-after pill are indeed aborting their pregnancy. If they are not pregnant, there is no need for a morning-after pill.

WILLIAM J. HOGAN

Rockville

FIGURING OUT DUBYA

EXPLORING GEORGE W. BUSH'S POLITICS, E.J. Dionne Jr. ["In Search of George W.," September 19] evokes an often-heard stereotype: A believable politician must have well-defined beliefs and behave predictably. Anything other than positions defined by the media must be tactical maneuvering. Dionne finds one riddle after another in Bush's actions and statements. The search for what Bush believes and why he believes it thus fails. Dionne implies that Bush just says what advances his candidacy.

I believe that good politics is rooted in principles involving contradictions whose resolution requires looking both back and ahead. Historians point out the attention our Founding Fathers gave to the great classical Greek political writings. This historical depth helps explain the remarkable staying power of the U.S. Constitution.

So, the better question may be: Is George W. attuned to different viewpoints in his own behalf, or does he seek wider goals, as Pericles expressed in a speech arguing that Athenians should embrace common national interests: "A man may be personally ever so well off, and yet if his country be ruined he must be ruined with it; whereas a flourishing commonwealth always affords chances of salvation to unfortunate individuals."

FRANK T. MANHEIM

Fairfax

I DO BELIEVE YOUNG MR. BUSH'S MIDdle initial prophetically stands for "Waffle." And clearly the "no fat," "no cholesterol," "no substance" kind -- the "lite" version.

JANE JONES

Washington

E.J. DIONNE SHOWED ONCE AGAIN HIS ability to turn a phrase, and turn my hope of phasing out federal assistance programs into a plan to "smash the state in the name of God."

I enjoyed his DNA analysis of compassionate conservatism's ambiguous paternity. In reality, I've found among the Bush team over the past few months a remarkable consensus on what to try over the next few years. We all favor as much devolution in social services as will help the poor and not harm them; the pace will be dictated by results.

MARVIN OLASKY

Austin, Tex.