While I endorse the general conclusion reached in the editorial "Supporting Birth Control" {Aug. 18}, I must challenge one of its basic premises that I find to be fundamentally flawed: namely, the notion that "an important way to help {reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies} is to teach these young women about birth control."

What about the men?

Betsy Hartmann reports in her excellent study "Reproductive Rights and Wrongs" that by 1983 the U.S. government "provided 59 percent of the $167 million in total worldwide expenditures in basic reproductive research." More importantly, only 12 percent of contraceptive research and development expenditures during the period 1980 to 1983 focused on male methods; almost 70 percent of the funds concentrated on hormonal, immunological and surgical methods for women, only 2.2 percent on the less harmful barrier methods.

Biology mandates that women assume primary responsibility for the gestation and delivery of children. It is the dictate of a "malestream" culture and a male-dominated research establishment, however, that women bear full responsibility for feeding, sheltering and rearing children -- or preventing their occurrence altogether. JOYCE MUSHABEN Silver Spring

I was relieved to read that The Post advocates birth control education for teens as a preemptive solution to the tragic problems of escalating teen pregnancies. At this point, it's crucial to look beyond the political rhetoric and posturing of the antiabortion/pro abortion rights debate and try to arrive at an actual, practical and workable solution to a real and painful problem.

Doesn't The Post think, however, that our kids would be better served if both parties involved -- young women and young men -- were educated about birth control alternatives? Should society place the entire responsibility of avoiding unwanted teen pregnancy on the "young women," as the editorial does?

I would venture to say that educating both boys and girls would not only work to reduce the number of unwanted teen pregnancies, but would also go a long way in teaching them that relationships -- be they intimate, familial or friendly -- are a shared responsibility, the burden of which both genders need to assume equally. ERIN FLANAGAN Arlington