I just reread Russell Shorto's New York Times Magazine article from May 7, "Contra-Contraception." (It reviews the current anti-contraception movement afoot in anti-abortion circles.)
Shorto quotes Kimberly Zenarolla, the director of strategic development for the National Pro-Life Action Center, who converted to Catholicism a couple years ago:
"I tell people I became Catholic because of the church's teaching on contraception. We are opposed to sex before marriage and contraception within marriage. We believe that the sexual act is meant to be a complete giving of self. Of course its purpose is procreation, but the church also affirms the unitive aspect: it brings a couple together. By using contraception, they are not allowing the fullness of their expression of love. To frustrate the procreative potential ends up harming the relationship."
Catholic doctrine is opposed to birth control and opposed to sterilization. In my particular case, I'm married and of childbearing age, but a pregnancy would wreak havoc on my health (and any fetus would face high odds against being born healthy). My question is this: If I were Catholic, what would the Church want me to do? Here's a multiple choice quiz the Pope can use to advise me:
A. Go ahead and use that birth control, sister—your life and well-being are worth preserving.
B. I can't get on board with birth control, but you/your husband should undergo tubal ligation/vasectomy. I'm not crazy about sterilization, but this is a tough spot to be in.
C. Don't use birth control, but don't risk pregnancy either—enjoy a celibate marriage! If celibacy is good enough for My Eminence, it should be good enough for you.
D. Don't use birth control, but carry on with the conjugal relations. If God wants you to get pregnant, then it'll also be God's will that you should suffer the ill health effects. But hey, you never know—miracles can happen. You could always find yourself suddenly cured of your ailment. Or you could die—and get to heaven ahead of schedule! It's win-win, baby.
E. Other (please describe).
Seriously, I don't know if the official Church doctrine would be option D. Would it?