- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie yesterday defended her use of birth control despite calling herself a “good Catholic girl.”

Mrs. Blair, whose husband converted to Catholicism after leaving office last June, made the comments after she revealed in a new book how her fourth child was conceived accidentally, during a holiday with Queen Elizabeth II.

“People seem to be quite shocked that perhaps a Catholic girl even uses contraception,” she told GMTV television.

“But it is really an important thing for women. … One of the reasons women’s lives have changed is that they have been able to control their fertility. It is an important issue,” she added.

In her just-published autobiography, “Speaking for Myself,” Mrs. Blair, a lawyer, described how the birth of the couple’s youngest son, Leo, followed a visit to the queen’s Balmoral Scottish residence in 1999.

She recalled how she had not packed her “contraceptive equipment” because the previous year it had embarrassingly been discovered by the palace staff, being unpacked along with a “range of unmentionables.”

“As usual up there, it had been bitterly cold, and what with one thing and another. … But then, I thought, ‘I can’t be [pregnant]. I’m too old. It must be the menopause,” she said.