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The Impact of the Abortion Issue on the Presidential Election

Regarding the front-page article "Republicans Face Hot Battle On Abortion at Convention," July 29: Does a woman have the right to make decisions regarding her body, her health, and her mental and physical well-being, or doesn't she? No matter the point at which life begins, the question is, who dictates the terms by which life is lived?

The desire for individual freedom from the capricious, external dictates of self-appointed governors drove America's independence movement to full-fledged war - hard-fought and hard-won. Freedom of choice used to be an American tradition. Have we forgotten this hard-won liberty bequeathed us by our Founding Fathers? Or are women still left out of the equation? Surely, such an intimate concern as one's own body must be left to one's own conscience. Marie Shih, Seattle

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If the Republican Party won't even listen to the pro-choice advocates, and if the party hierarchy refuses to change or amend its anti-choice platform plank, the GOP will drive millions of voters, particularly young women and men, away from its banner for years to come.

The United States government, including the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, should guarantee an individual's right to privacy and keep out of family-planning decisions. If the Republican Party won't open its eyes in Houston, the voters will do it for them in November. George Dean, Southport, Conn.

The political campaigning is getting down to the ABCs of it. Abortion: Bush/Clinton. Ray RobRoy, Phoenix

Many Democratic candidates proclaim loudly that they are champions of "the family." Yet that party's official position is in favor of abortion. "Choice" is of course a convenient euphemism.

Can anyone explain convincingly the apparent inconsistency between being for the family and at the same time being for eliminating those who, if the process were allowed to continue, would become loving and productive members of that family? J. H. Foegen, Winona, Minn. Family values

President Bush has shaken my confidence in him and his ability to lead this nation. I am, however, even more shaken to see the liberal agenda of Gov. Bill Clinton. One thing I must agree with Mr. Bush on is that the family is under siege.

Family values are my last hope to keep alive this coming election. The parents' rights to choose their children's schools and religious influences are at stake. The bond between parent and child is sacred. Bill Vigue, Brookfield, Conn.

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President Bush and Governor Clinton need to get down to business and hold a series of debates, identifying the issues on family-oriented legislation.

In order to make a sound vote, the American public needs to hear concrete plans that will improve job training; create jobs; design affordable, family-centered health care; reduce family and child poverty; and improve safe housing in neighborhoods.

Let's get on with a family-oriented debate and address workable solutions to the problems affecting the well-being of America's families. Ronald H. Field, Washington, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Family Service America, Inc.

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