Where did Jeb Byrne ["Life and My Party," op-ed, Dec. 31] find these abortion-endorsing Democrats who are having a "love affair with the nihilism of abortion"? I have never talked to anyone who does not agree with him that abortion should be rare. But the way to make it so is not to regulate it into illegality but to render it unnecessary by making it easy for all people of reproductive age to get safe, cheap, effective contraception.

What is nihilistic is to force women to complete pregnancies begun by rape, to deny poor people access to birth control because they can't afford it, to stifle contraceptive research, to deny all Americans access to methods available elsewhere because drug companies are afraid to distribute them, to murder physicians who perform legal medical procedures, to make medical schools reluctant to give residents abortion training, to refuse to educate young people about their physical and emotional development, and to have Congress live grown women's lives for them.

A society that permits all of this can hardly be called "liberal, egalitarian and life-affirming."


Waterford, Va.


Jeb Byrne tweaked my memory of working as a volunteer for Charles S. Robb's last successful Senate campaign. Kate Michelman of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League made me most uncomfortable as the campaign's choice for kickoff cheerleader at Robb headquarters. As a pro-lifer, I had never made abortion the litmus test for a candidate, though if there was one issue on which I was diametrically opposed to Mr. Robb's stance, abortion rights was it.

But Oliver North for Virginia senator? Besides, I convinced myself that Mr. Robb in his heart abhorred abortion and would lean toward making it rare if not illegal. That year I participated in the March for Life, perhaps as a penance.

Still a Democrat by registration and a pro-lifer by conviction, I am considering deleting one of those designators if the pro-choice folks continue to drown out my voice.