By People Staff
Updated January 07, 1999 12:00 AM
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In a stunning break with tradition, the Miss America pageant is lifting its 49-year-old ban on women who have been married or had abortions. “I’m shocked,” says Miss America 1993, Leanza Cornett. “Out of all of the things I could have expected, that is one I wouldn’t think of in a million years.” Allowing contestants with divorces and abortions in their pasts will tarnish the rhinestone reputation of Miss America, insists Cornett. “There are still little girls out there who have held Miss America and others like her up on a pedestal. When you’re sitting around the dinner table with your daughter or your little niece, it’ll bring up so many questions.”