By Hilary White
December 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cherie Blair, the wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, has again attacked the Catholic Church's teaching on sex and contraception, despite her continued claims to be a "devout" Catholic.
In an article in the Tatler, one of England's most venerable society magazines focusing on the lives of the upper classes and elites, Cherie Blair disparaged natural family planning methods, saying, "Personally, I think it is better to go for contraception that works."
Blair again reiterated her theme that it is artificial contraception that has allowed women to "progress." Contraception, she said, "is quite different from abortion."
"Controlling our fertility has been one of the key reasons why women have been able to progress and in Africa it can mean the difference between life and death, in preventing the spread of HIV. I hope the position of the Church will change on this."
Mrs. Blair has made her insistence on the moral separation between abortion and contraception a theme in her recent interviews and talks. Late last year, she was invited to the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) to speak on the progress of women's rights and at that time she said, "There is a real danger in this debate if we ally contraception and abortion as the same and the Church needs to engage in this issue properly."
Blair continues to present herself as a public face of Catholic womanhood despite her well-documented support for some of the world's most prominent abortion organizations, including the Family Planning Association, International Planned Parenthood and the UN's CEDAW committee that pressures governments to legalize abortion around the world.
In her lecture at the Angelicum, she decried the use of sex-selective abortion that has created gender imbalance in India and China, but declined to condemn abortion in general as the killing of innocent children.
John Smeaton, the director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children responded to Blair's comments to the Tatler, saying they "are wrong in so many ways."
Smeaton pointed to the clinical trials showing that natural family planning according to the Billings Ovulation Method is more effective than any known form of artificial contraception.
Smeaton also quoted the encyclical by the late Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, that warned against the "contraceptive mentality" that creates a social and moral atmosphere hostile to life and leads logically to abortion as a form of contraception.
Pope John Paul wrote, "The negative values inherent in the 'contraceptive mentality' which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation [to abortion] when an unwanted life is conceived.
"Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected."