To the editors:

Bryan Howard of Planned Parenthood claims that children will end up being abused if abortion is outlawed (September 15). He cites some study that suggests that 23 percent of teens abuse their children within their first five years. He conveniently overlooks the fact that the incidence of child abuse has risen geometrically since abortion was legalized in 1973. No one has yet to prove a causal relationship either way.

The notion of abortion as preventive medicine for a variety of social ills like teen pregnancy, child abuse, and welfare dependency is a classic example of double-speak. Abortion has not and will not alleviate these problems in spite of the American fascination with quick fixes. Violence in response to human problems leads to more violence and more problems.

Whether abortion remains legal or becomes illegal again, human rights advocates on either side of the issue cannot be satisfied. Violence against women and their unborn children must be stopped. True alternatives to abortion must be provided.

Can we begin to think creatively about government institutions and businesses which put the needs of families first? Can we imagine a society in which men and women share equally in the nurturing of their children? Is it possible that someday we will be able to welcome all unborn children?

We are a long way off from such a utopian world but we sense that this kind of radical social change can happen. We know that slavery was once considered a morally acceptable, legal practice. As with abortion, it may take the efforts of many generations to make abortion unthinkable. Those of us who are convinced that abortion is an assault on human dignity must accept this long-haul approach in working toward viable options. The struggle for human rights is won not merely by passing laws but by changing hearts.

In the meantime, I challenge Bryan Howard to consider that 100 percent of aborted children are currently abused. The war on the unborn and their mothers must end.

Dan Kuhn

W. Early