Abortion is perhaps the most polarizing issue in American politics. The Republican National Convention was nearly fractured over it. Democrats got their share of criticism for refusing to let Gov. Robert Casey (D) of Pennsylvania address the convention on his anti-abortion position. The Supreme Court took a middle-road course last June, upholding a woman's right to an abortion but placing limits on the ability to obtain the procedure. BUSH

Supports abortion only in cases of rape, incest or where the mother's life is endangered by pregnancy. He would back a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a fetus's right to life. He supports federal funding of family-planning programs to assist low-income Americans, but he opposes the use of tax dollars to pay for abortion, except when the life of the mother is endangered. He would veto the Freedom of Choice Act.

Bush blocked reauthorization of funding for medical research using the transplantation of fetal tissue from deliberately induced abortions. He supports the United States Food and Drug Administration ban on the import of RU-486, the abortion pill. CLINTON

Supports a woman's right to choose an abortion, but adds that "being pro-choice is not the same thing as being pro-abortion."

He would sign the Freedom of Choice Act, guaranteeing a woman's right to choose an abortion.

He would lift the ban on fetal-tissue research, supporting the transplantation of tissues from fetuses that come from miscarriages or induced abortions.

He supports lifting the Food and Drug Administration ban on RU-486, the French-made abortion pill, so that it can be tested in the United States. PEROT

Encourages adoption as an alternative to abortion, but supports a woman's right to choose an abortion. He believes Congress should pass legislation upholding that right and support it through funding of abortions for poor women, funding of reproductive counseling and education to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

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