VIEWS ON abortion have become a big factor in several Maryland state legislative contests. For state senate, veteran incumbent Margaret C. Schweinhaut's distinguished public service career is considered to be in jeopardy in large part because of her opposition to abortion. Del. Patricia Sher, an abortion rights supporter, has seized on this for a bid to unseat Mrs. Schweinhaut by capitalizing on what appears to the strong preference of Marylanders for abortion rights. But on this issue, there are enough votes around to defend abortion without forfeiting the influence and respect that Mrs. Schweinhaut enjoys to this day in the General Assembly. Mrs. Sher has been an able member of the House but has not demonstrated the breadth and depth of knowledge and good sense that Mrs. Schweinhaut continues to bring to so many decisions that lead to laws.

In another race with roots in the abortion issue, Del. Mary H. Boergers, abortion-rights supporter, is challenging state Sen. Frank Shore, who opposes abortion. But here Mrs. Boergers is clearly the better candidate, because, like Mrs. Schweinhaut, she has a grasp of the bigger legislative picture as well solid experience with national organizations dealing with state government.

Another incumbent under challenge is state Sen. Ida G. Ruben, who has been attacked by a former Virginia state legislator now a Maryland resident, attorney Ira Lechner. While Mrs. Ruben's aggressive style has not always endeared her to colleagues, her chairmanship of the Montgomery delegation has been an important asset for the county. Mr. Lechner's campaign has been ugly, seeking without serious evidence to portray Mrs. Ruben as someone who has "ignored ethical standards for years." Mrs. Ruben has done nothing to deserve such unfair treatment.

In Prince George's, incumbent Decatur Trotter, who is challenged by former incumbent and machine politician Tommie Broadwater, offers more thoughtful representation. Among notable challengers in the county, we include Terezie Bohrer, who offers fresh ideas and political independence in a race against incumbent Leo Green. Similarly, in District 21, challenger Jo Anne P. Welsh has waged an impressive grass-roots challenge of machine slate-making in the county with a balanced approach to growth and taxation issues.

Another impressive campaigner who deserves a house seat from Montgomery's District 18 is David Weaver, whose intelligent, independent campaign in a crowded field already has attracted attention well beyond the district's boundaries.