Gain a Child, Lose a Tooth

Pregnancy and childbirth are profound events in the life of women and families, no less physically than spiritually.

‘Gain a child, lose a tooth’, even in 2007, the New York Times Science section concludes that there’s some truth to this old saying.

A recent poll shows that a majority of Catholics support including birth control in health insurance coverage.

I suspect that many Catholics have some firsthand knowledge of the toll repeated pregnancies can take on a woman who is beyond her best physical health or a family that is stretched beyond its means.

Do we really want to limit birth control? To put an extra financial burden on the poorest women? Would it be a better world if women had ‘as many children as God gives them’? Was it a better world for women and children when choices were few and contraception unreliable?

Some of us remember those days, exhausted mothers and families in constant crisis. Yes, it was common for women to lose their teeth to poverty and the strain of repeated, close together pregnancies.

All decisions have consequences. The decision to limit childbearing affects women, families and society. Can we trust those women and families to make that decision? If not, who should we trust?

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