23 SEPTEMBER 1995, Page 30

The babykillers

Sir: Anne Applebaum's comments on the UN women's conference in Beijing were, for the most part, welcome and wise (Feminism: the final form of western Imperi- alism', 9 September).

However, I was perplexed by her judg- ment that in the abortion debate 'all right- thinking American women are pro-choice'. I ask her to justify this position. Feminists for Life of America is one of many right- thinking American groups opposed to abor- tion who might not feel happy with Sister Applebaum's opinion.

The history of feminism in the western world shows many of the great leaders (Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stan- ton, Victoria Woodhull, and others) vehe- mently opposed to abortion. Alice Paul of the Equal Rights Amendment (1923) expressed the opinion that 'abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women'. Mary Wollstonecraft, opposing abortion, states, `Nature in everything demands respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity.' (A Vindication of the Rights of Women).

Equating feminism with the pro-abortion stance is simply not acceptable. I am one of the myriad of women totally opposed to abortion and totally committed to the full realisation of women's rights.

Josephine Quintavalle

8 Chelsea Park Gardens, London SW3