12 JANUARY 1991, Page 18

Sir: The account by Amanda Craig of the gruesome procedures

of legal abortion reminds me of a similar description I read many years ago. At that time, I naïvely thought that people simply did not know that such things went on, and that once they were made aware of them, they would be as horrified as I was.

Of course, one soon discovered (as with the analogous barbarities of execution) that the majority of people remain quite unmoved, save to the extent that they think it bad taste to have the nasty subject pushed under their noses.

Amanda Craig quotes the consultant gynaecologist who performed the abor- tions she witnessed as saying that 'between 20 and 25 per cent of all doctors feel it is wrong under any circumstances'. That is a sufficiently large percentage and one would have thought that anyone involved in the process of tugging out of a woman's womb recognisable pieces of a human body, would feel just a little unease. Miss Craig describes him and his assistant as `relaxed and smiling as they work, discus- sing [the surgeon's] difficulties in buying a new house'.

No doubt it is mere sentimentality to find this insouciance as repugnant as the work itself.

Martin Mears Old Rectory,

Haddiscoe, Norwich, Norfolk