Roe v. Wade, Civil Disobedience, and the Right to Protest

Regarding the Opinion page column "A Long Shadow Across Roe v. Wade," Jan. 20: When is it morally acceptable to perform civil disobedience to protect life? Are these people violent radicals equivalent to the mafia or the Ku Klux Klan, as the press portrays them, or are they merely people who feel abortion is murder, and that there must be a witness to protest the taking of life?

If President Clinton is a centrist coalitionmaker, then why doesn't he look instead at European abortion laws, which assist women who have problem pregnancies with welfare programs - but also have waiting periods and some restrictions past the first trimester of pregnancy.

How society will treat life - and how society will treat those who willingly face arrest to protest the taking of life, even when what is occurring is camouflaged under the guise of rights and privacy - must be decided now.

If we use harsh laws to destroy the conservative moral voice of the community, who will be left to stand in the gap to be a voice in the future? Nancy K. O'Connor, Nanty Glo, Pa.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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