16 FEBRUARY 1991, Page 23

Not for the squeamish

Sir: I write in some relief after reading Elaine Rankin's letter (2 February) follow- ing the anti-abortionists' reaction towards Amanda Craig's account of some abortion operations. Much was made in that article of the medical gore involved in the ter- mination of a pregnancy (yes, bodies are bloody and the clash of surgical steel and ' gynaecological gore does engage the read- er), but moral dilemmas were presented as the preserve of the medical staff. One, a student, was defined as 'a Christian'. What was overlooked was that there was a strong likelihood that the women involved had themselves struggled with this deeply per- sonal dilemma before taking the responsi- bility for choosing the lesser of two evils (for them).

Abortions are not the prerogative of the Untermadchen Amanda Craig patronises with her observations (did she ask their permission too?); they are performed on thousands of well-brought up, well- educated women — indeed, on People Like Us — in both NHS and private hospitals. I do not think they are under- taken lightly, as I know from consoling friends in the situation; the decision in- volves heart-searching thought and some- times prayers too.

Bridget Bailey

24 Albion Drive, London F8