24 JULY 1971, Page 29

Don't blame the doctors

Sir: I hope I have misread Dr Rowan Wilson's essay (July 10). Ho states that a decision to abort a patient (perhaps to open her abdomen and womb and so destroy the foetus) should be decided not by the surgeon but someone else. Adolf Hitler similarly felt that a decision to sterilize a young Jewess should not rest with the surgeon. The decision rested with the state, the Third Reich. Any gynaecologist who would not toe the state line could expect the concentration camp. In the present era in the red bloc countries a gynaecologist who for any reason refuses to abort may expect to be sacked from his hospital.

Dr Rowan Wilson — a correction please! Surely you expect con sultant gynaecologists to consult with their patients, not simply to do what she commands.

Hugh Cameron McLaren Birmingham Maternity Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre, Edgbaston, Birmingham 15.