In a Nov. 13 article, it was reported that a group of anti-abortion women led by a male fundamentalist preacher attended a meeting of the Maryland delegation to the Nation Women's Conference and, through remarks and behavior, interrupted the meeting. There were in fact two groups, only one of which was represented by the male preacher. Jean Guilfoyle, spokeswoman for the second group, Maryland Citizens Coalition for Life and Family, denies that her group harassed the delegates in any way.

When the members of the Maryland delegation to the massive National Women's Year conference met last week in a school in Columbia, the plan was to discuss the details of getting to it in Houston this Friday. However, when they arrived they found waiting for them about 45 women wearing red roses--the symbol of anti-abortion groups--and a small group of lesbians.

The rose-wearers, led by a fundamentalist male preacher, asked to address the group and were told they could after the agenda was finished. Nonetheless, throughout the business meeting they made rude remarks to the lesbians, moved their chairs to sit uncomfortably close to the delegates, and were ostentatious about photographing the delegates and taperecording the meeting, tactics that left at least some delegates angry and showing it.

The anti-abortion representatives made no effort to ask for any of the 10 observers' passes to the national event the delegates had to distribute to Maryland women. Nor did they attempt to contact the several women who share their views on abortion.

In short, although the business of the meeting was accomplished and agreements were reached among the delegates on other controversial issues, the most vivid memory left from the evening and recorded by the media is one of the women wearing red roses angering delegates.

This is what officials fear may happen in the Houston conference, which thousands of women, both for and against the goals set by the meeting, have looked toward for over a year.

Whatever comes out of the meeting, whether it is judged a success or a failure, is bound to have lasting repercussions. If it is judged a failure, the viability of the women's movement as a pressure group representing the

As many as 40,000 women are preparing to arrive in Houston this week, according to conference estimates, for the nation's first federally funded convention to produce a blueprint for legislation to achieve equality for women.

While only 2,000 are official delegates or alternates, preparations for the convention were made in meetings in every state and six territories over the last year, and the ideas of more than 140,000 women were said to have been considered. As the conference approaches, its officials are alternately sounding optimistic and worried.

Former Rep. Bella Abzug ;D.N.Y.), chairperson of the meeting, has warned of disruptions from such right-wing groups as the Ku Klan and the John Birch Society even while she urges the media not to be distracted from the main event by their antics.

At stake is a 26-point "Plan of Action," which is the talking paper of the meeting and which is supposed to result in specific legislation. More than that, the question that will be dealt with inside the hall and out is whether a consensus of women want "equality."

The conference, funded by a $5 million congressional appropriation (reduced from an original request of $10 million), is the result of legislation introduced by Abzug in 1975.

It's purpose, as stated in the "Declaration of American Women" that prefaces the plan, is " to assess the status of women in our country, to measure the progress we have made, to identify the barriers that prevent us from participating fully and equally in all aspects of national life, and to make recommendations to the President and to Congress for means by which such barriers can be removed."

Inevitably, in an undertaking of this magnitude there are conflicts.

The logistics of producing a "representative" group of women from all areas of the country was unwieldy. But in addition, the conference has been barraged with lawsuits attempting to stop it, a senatorial effort to cut its funding, challenges to the legality of some delegate elections, internal dissension over issues such as lesbian rights and abortion, and voluminous criticism from groups claiming it is "antifamily"

In addition there are women who resent the inclusion of such potentially divisive aspects of the plan as the =sexual preference" proposal. It includes a call for legislation to prohibit judges from considering such things as whether a parent is a homosexual when deciding child-custody fights.

There are Romen who object to the "reproductive freedom" plank. That one obliquely endorses abortion and calls for sex education in all schools, including elementary schools.

There are anti-feminists who are angered over the use of federal funds to support the conference. The maintain it is merely a lobbying effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. One women who testified in Senate hearings called the funding " a boondoggle for little girls to hold conferences."(Much of the $5 million is being used to pay transportation and $50 per diem for each delegate and alternate.)

Even the unsubstantiated rumors - that Mormons tried to buy the two major hotels in Houston so they could prevent conference goers from staying there, that there may be violence--are an indication of the intensity of feeling surrounding the event.

Beyond the eloquent predictions of unity and plans for a constructive meeting, it is difficult to know what is really going to happen in Houston--and after. If the delegates do agree on a list of recommendations, as organizers expect, the prospects for their eventual translation into successful legislation are unknown. "We're waiting to hear from Midge [Costanza] after the conference," said White House Legislative aide Valerie Pinson. "We don't have any plans until we see what they do."

And the plan as it now stands includes numerous potentially controversial and expensive proposals. In addition to the directives to include more women in decision-making positions, there are ideas such as federal programs for child care, including facilities for government workers, bilingual vocational training, federal investigations into instances of unnecessary mastectomics and other operations, changes in health insurance, and the establishment of a women's department in the Cabinet are proposals onthe agenda.

Many of these proposals are not new, but have failed in one form or another to get through Congress due to opposition to increased government spending and regulation.

Thus the real question is whether the recommendations produced by the conference will be accepted as representing what the majority of women want.

Statistically, the delegates include "every race, every religion, every economic class and a wide variety of points of view," Abug says. About 300 of the 1442 voting delegates are "opposed to everything" in the Action Pian, a spokeswoman said. Officials cite the open invitation to the state meetings that attracted more than 140,000 women to buttress their claim that the group is as representative as possible. Through the appointment of at-large delegates, imbalances such as the all-white Mississippi group have been remedied.

But anti-ERA crusader phyllis Schlafly and her allies say they have been systematically excluded from the state meetings. She said she did not attend the Illinois meeting because she was not invited personally.

Abug said that right-wing opposition to the meeting increased as the year of state meetings continued. "They view this as a step toward social change and they are on guard and alert against that," she said. "Heavy financial interests support them, and the thought of equal pay for equal work is threatening to them."

An April 28 Louis Harris survey showed that 54 per cent of women nationally supported the ERA; 35 per cent opposed it. Fifty-seven per cent of the men favored in and 34 per cent were opposed.

Schlafly claims 50,000 members in her anti-ERA Eagle Forum, and 18,000 subscribers to her newsletter. She also cites the failure of enough state legislatures to pass the ERA to support her claim that she represents the majority. She is one of several women and groups organizing a "pro-family" rally in Houston Saturday, to which she promises "thousands" of women will come.

"Our people are afraid to go near the convention... the purpose of our activity is to say this is not what American women want," she said.

A "Pro-Plan Caucus" has been organized, which is expected tobe headed by President Carol Bellamy, to marshal forces behind the plan.

"We recognize the right of all delegates to express their varying opinions," Bellamy said in a prepared statement. "However, our careful analysis of delegates shows that the vast majority favor the proposed plan. We are organizing these pro-plan delegates to make certain that the will of the majority is not circumvented by a vocal minority which does not circumvented by a vocal minority which does not support the plan."