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"String of newborn killings leaves authorities and society asking why." That July 13 headline illustrates a poignant, heartbreaking irony.

Recently teen-agers and young adults from Illinois, California and New Jersey have given birth and then taken the life that they delivered.

The newspaper article alleges that there would be more of these tragedies if it were not for the availability of legal abortions.

As youth director for the Diocese of Buffalo, my experience with teen-agers suggests a different conclusion. For almost 25 years, teen-agers and their parents have consistently heard the message that a pregnancy is not human, but merely a product of conception.

Authorities, society and the psychiatry professor quoted in the article should not be shocked that the teen-ager who takes a baby's life "doesn't see it as a human or a child. . . . They think of it as a foreign body that has passed through them."

Abortion is easily available and promoted as a convenient solution to an embarrassing and bothersome condition. This message has gotten through.

It should be no surprise to another forensic psychiatrist quoted in the article that "they kill because it's convenient for them."

Sadly, these cases represent a tragedy that claims multiple victims. The teen-agers involved in these infanticides and their babies are both victims of a culture that has lost respect for life and sees death as a solution to inconvenient and complex problems. These cases should warn us that something is defective with the values and fiber of our culture.

Rev. Gary J. Bagley Buffalo

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