A challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia's involuntary sterilization law evaported last week after the mother of a mentally retarded 20-year-old Dumfries woman withdrew her request to have her daughter sterillized.

The Virginia Supreme Court returned an appeal filed by lawyers for the daughter to the Prince William County Circuit Court, where Judge Arthur W. Sinclair rescinded his sterilization orded.

According to Norman S. Rosenberg, a lawyer with the Washington based Mental Health Law Project, which had filed briefs in support of the appeal, the mother's decision not to pursue her request for sterilization of the woman came days before oral arguments in the case were scheduled to be heard.

Rosenberg said that the woman had cited the publicity surrounding the case as one of a number of reasons why she had decided to rescind her request.

Judge Sinclair had ordered that the woman receive an abortion and be sterilized at the mother's request last November after the daugther became pregnant. The abortion was performed, but Judge Sinclair postponed the sterilization order pending the appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The appeal contended that the sterilization law was unconstitutionally vague and provided inadequate standards for local courts making such decisions and granted too much discretion to local judges.