Rep. Don Edwards' (D-Calif.) letter {July 10} "Abortion and State Whims" at best betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of our constitutional system of government. Rep. Edwards tries to argue that "because abortion deals with a fundamental constitutional right . . . it cannot be left to the whim of 50 state legislatures and a crazy quilt of court interpretation." He concludes that "the abortion issue is a federal matter requiring a federal response."

Why is abortion a federal matter? According to the Constitution, all "federal" matters derive from the consensual abdication of power over the matter by the state or the people. Rep. Edwards conveniently ignores the ultimate provision of the Bill of Rights: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

At the heart of the abortion issue is the federal judiciary's usurpation of a power "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" by the Tenth Amendment. The states and the people certainly never amended the Constitution to prohibit states from regulating abortion, as evidenced by the fact that Roe v. Wade unilaterally overturned abortion restrictions in practically every state.

What really worries Rep. Edwards (and his liberal constituents) is that the new majority on the Supreme Court will expose Roe v. Wade for what it is: illegitimate federal legislation by unelected judges. Rep. Edwards would now have the federal legislature solidify in a statute the political gains achieved by an aging if not dead majority alliance on the Supreme Court.

It's amazing how so-called democratic lawmakers can forget about the most fundamental maxims of American constitutional government, relying instead on unelected federal judges to enact their social agendas. Why not leave political issues not addressed in the Constitution to the states and the people, as the Bill of Rights mandates? JOSEPH E. SCHMITZ Washington