INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Mayor William H. Hudnut says he and his wife chose to abort her 18-week pregnancy after learning that the fetus' vital organs were developing abnormally.

Hudnut's 32-year-old wife, Beverly, underwent ''the labor and delivery of the stillborn infant'' at Indiana University Medical Center over the weekend, the mayor said in a statement.

Hudnut's press secretary, Dave Arland, said the mayor has spent most of the week at home with his wife.

''They're both working through the grief of this tragic loss,'' Arland said.

A four-term mayor in office for 16 years, Hudnut has never made abortion a campaign issue. But during an unsuccessful bid for secretary of state last year, he said he ''didn't feel it was correct to intervene in what a woman wants to do with her own body.''

Hudnut 58, said he felt obligated to make the abortion public because it had been widely reported that the couple, who married in 1989, were expecting their first child. The four-term mayor who has held office for 16 years has children from an earlier marriage.

He has declined to publicly discuss the situation since releasing the statement Sunday.

''He feels very strongly that he's said enough about it,'' Arland said.

Anti-abortion activists have said they disagree with the decision, but stopped short of directly criticizing the Hudnuts.

Marigrace Bailey, president of Right to Life of Indianapolis, said the group believes abortion is justifiable only when necessary to save the mother's life, however, ''it's not our place to judge them after the fact,'' she said.

''I really do feel for people who have been through an abortion because there is a lot of stuff they will be dealing with on down the road,'' Bailey said. ''There is a lot of trauma.''

Arland said he knows of no negative comment about the abortion.

''The only reaction that I'm aware of has been an overflow of sympathy and calls to the office, letters, flowers and just a real sense of loss,'' he said.

Hudnut, a Presbyterian minister, had named the child George Matheson Hudnut, after a British poet. He ended his statement with this Matheson poem, which has become a Presbyterian hymn:

''O Love that wilt not let me go,

''I rest my weary soul in thee;

''I give thee back the life I owe,

''That in thine ocean depths its flow

''May richer, fuller be.''