Cherie Blair famously conceived her youngest son after forgetting to pack her “contraceptive equipment” for a stay with the Queen.
But now she has turned on the Catholic Church’s position on birth control, suggesting it could be preventing women from pursuing a successful career.
Despite being a devour Catholic and encouraging her husband, Tony, to convert from Anglicanism, she said she used contraception. The wife of the former Prime Minister said: “I feel if you look at what progress women have made in the world, one of the reasons is because they have been able to control their fertility.
”I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and indeed without that (ability) to control I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the things that I’ve been able to do. ”Personally, I would prefer it if the Catholic Church took a more positive attitude towards contraception because I think there’s a lot of difference between preventing a life coming about and actually extinguishing a life when it has come about.”
The barrister was promoting her memoirs, Speaking for Myself, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The book reveals how she forgot to pack contraception for a stay at Balmoral, during which she conceived her youngest son, Leo.
Last year Pope Benedict XVI launched a strong defence of the 1968 Papal Letter Of Human Life, written by Pope Paul VI, which set out the church’s case against artificial birth control. A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said the church had warned of contraception causing four major problems. These were a general lowering of moral standards, a rise in infidelity, a lessening of respect for women by men and the coercive use of reproductive techniques by government.
”The last four decades have testified to the wisdom of this analysis,” the spokesman said.
But a Family Planning Association spokesman backed Mrs Blair, saying: “It’s incredibly important that women have safe and convenient access to contraception because it has a big effect on their life.”