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Linda, 24, training to be a legal secretary, lives with her boyfriend in New Jersey: "My IUD fell out, and I didn't notice. I will never tell my boyfriend. He wants a baby now real bad. But it's my decision." Helen, 20, is a college student who lives with her parents in Brooklyn: "It will keep me back from school, and I have only a year to go. I feel terrible about it. Not knowing if it is male or female, what it would grow up to be, really troubles me." Tina, a childlike 19, lives in Staten Island, N.Y., with her boyfriend and their seven-month-old daughter: "I had a bad caesarean last time, bad infections. I have to wait a few years for another child." Pro-lifers argue that many unwanted pregnancies are due to carelessness and irresponsibility, that abortion has come to be an expedient way to correct a mistake. Claris, who lives with her mechanic husband in Brooklyn, was on the Pill but failed to renew her prescription when it ran out. "I didn't get around to it," she says.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of the abortion debate is that genuine moral and social issues have become obscured by the bellicose rhetoric of zealots. Earlier this year, LAPAC's Paul Brown made a vicious personal attack on NARAL'S Karen Mulhauser. Said he: "I hear that Karen claims she was raped. Well, let me tell you, Karen is not the most beautiful creature in the world, so when I hear her say she was raped, my response is 'You wish.' " Brown's comment was inexcusable: Mulhauser had indeed been raped by two men, at gunpoint, both of whom were convicted and imprisoned. Pro-choice advocates have also been guilty of excess. Says Lynn Walker, director of a feminist women's health center in California: "The pro-lifers are very dangerous people. They are not pro-children. They are antisex. And when they're done with women's rights, next come the Jews."
Nonetheless, there are valid if irreconcilable arguments on both sides. There is, as the pro-lifers contend, a question of life involved with abortion; whether that life is labeled "potential" or "unborn," it cannot be dismissed lightly. Says Los Angeles Pro-Life Attorney George Crook: "I don't like to pull out bottled fetuses and parade them, but I do like to remind people of the historical, traditional emphasis this society has always placed on human life." Because of the paramount value they place on the developing life from the moment of fertilization, some pro-life zealots would outlaw even IUDS and other birth-control methods that prevent the egg from implantation inside the uterus. Abortion-rights advocates have a strong case in rejecting this extreme view. They are on less solid ground if