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by Abigail Van Buren

Pro Choice Grandma Cites Early Tragedy, Later Joy

DEAR ABBY: I am a 70-year-old Republican woman. I attended high school with fewer than 300 students in the late '40s. Two young women died of botched abortions, devastating their families and friends. (Abortions were illegal then.)

When my own children were in high school in the '70s, a young couple who were "going steady" became pregnant. They terminated the pregnancy early on at a reputable clinic. Few knew about it. The relationship ended after a few months. Both went on to graduate from college, marry others, and now have stable families with two and three children respectively.

My grandson is the result of a caring birth mother choosing to place the child she could not care for up for adoption -- thereby giving happiness to the child as well as to our family.

The key word is "choice." Only the girl/woman should make the decision to have an abortion or carry the pregnancy to term and keep the child or place the baby for adoption. The decision should NOT be up to self-righteous, ambitious politicians. -- PRO-CHOICE GRANDMA

DEAR GRANDMA: Right on! Only the individual knows how much she can handle, and the decision should be hers to make. The key word is, indeed, "choice."

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.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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