Contrary to William Raspberry's article {op-ed, May 20}, the Civil Rights Restoration Bill is simple in its purpose and effect. Its purpose is to correct that portion of a 1984 Supreme Court ruling, Grove City College v. Bell, which narrowly restricts the application of four civil rights laws. Its effect would ensure a discrimination-free environment, for example, to students and employees throughout a college and not just the specific program that received funds.

The restoration bill is already abortion neutral. Sponsors of the bill stressed its neutrality by adopting language in the committee report, in 1984, and in the bill, in 1985, which stressed that Congress took no position -- neither approved nor disapproved -- on the Title IX regulations regarding abortion-related health-insurance coverage for students and employees.

Title IX does not generally cover hospitals; it is limited to federally funded education programs. However, the education component of a hospital, if it has one, has always been subject to Title IX. No evidence has been presented that a hospital, whether secular or nonsecular, has ever been required to perform elective abortions prior to the Grove City ruling. The restoration bill would not alter that fact.

Endorsers of the Tauke/Sensenbrenner amendment seek to repeal Title IX regulations that require that abortion be treated like other disabilities for health-insurance purposes. The regulations also prohibit discrimination against students and employees on account of abortion.

These regulations can be changed by the president. As this administration well knows, federal regulations are frequently changed. Federal regulators simply must comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Perhaps changing the regulations is too simple. Thus far, the Title IX regulations are the most significant obstacle to this legislation. Removing that barrier might demonstrate that there are some who really like the Supreme Court's Grove City holding. Eliminating the abortion issue would reveal that some recipients want both federal aid and the power to discriminate. Changing the regulations would add a degree of candor, which may be too simple after all. DON EDWARDS U.S. Representative (D-Calif.) Chairman, Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights Washington