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by Abigail Van Buren

Pro Choice Grandma Cites Early Tragedy, Later Joy

DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to the reply you gave the young woman signed "Scared to Speak Up." She was 19 years old, recently married and expecting her first baby. Her parents claimed they would disown her if she became pregnant before age 24. They also expect her to repay the money they spent on her college education.

Your response for her to be responsible and begin paying back the money is ludicrous! Parents should not manipulate an adult daughter to do exactly as they want her to. Life has many twists and turns. It does not always follow a script that the parents have laid out. Her parents were willing to pay for her education in the beginning. Was there a signed contract stating she could not marry before her degree was acquired?

The parents should realize that a marriage and expected child need not be the end of the road for their daughter's formal education. Eventually she will probably decide to continue it. She and her husband will have enough expenses to worry about without this silly demand from her parents. How controlling and manipulative can parents be to dictate they will disown their daughter if she gets pregnant before they think she should?

Her parents deserve a kick in the rear, as well as a message to stop dictating how their daughter should live her life. Abby, you goofed on your reply. -- DONNA KOPITZKE, HUDSON, WIS.

DEAR DONNA: While I agree that the girl's parents are controlling, I disagree that I goofed on my reply.

The young woman dropped out of school as a freshman to marry someone her parents disapprove of so greatly they refused to attend the wedding. Since I don't know the young man, I can only assume that the bride's parents -- right or wrong -- believe the marriage won't last. That's the reason they tried to blackmail their daughter into waiting before starting a family.

As for paying back the money that was invested in her first year of college -- the girl has already refused to do so. However, were she to attempt to repay it, I'm sure they would respect her for making the effort, whether or not she was able to reimburse the entire amount.