When Cathy crossed the threshold of her local Catholic Hospital with her latest child squirming from her birth canal, she could feel her heart beating in her fingertips and she was terrified and filled with shame.

She’d had enough children and she wanted to start enjoying sex without having to worry about the nefarious curse of her husband’s sperm and her incredibly fertile eggs over the following nine months.

Cathy knew it had to be done and she didn’t feel bad about coming to a hospital she tithed to as a good and faithful Catholic for the last decade or so; it was her turn for help now and she came to take her share home with her.

After the baby was removed from her — Cathy’s body was invaded by foreign hands and familiar tubes and cold metal tools — she took comfort in knowing 20,000 women before her had knelt down before Him and had their tubes tied under the same sort of religiously sanctioned circumstance.

Using standardized hospital discharge data, she found that between 2007 and 2009, more than 20,000 women who gave birth at Catholic hospitals in New Jersey and six other states then had their “tubes tied.”

Eighty-five hospitals – almost half of those providing obstetric services – were doing sterilizations to end fertility.

Among these were Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro, where Hapenney found that 282 women – 6 percent of those who gave birth – were sterilized in 2008 and 2009.

Cathy prayed to her God, and she thanked Him for giving her so many blessings of children.

She also thanked Him for providing a safe way for her to now honor and raise her children without living in fear of getting pregnant again.

Cathy looked into her newborn’s eyes and she knew this child was her last, and most precious gift, and she vowed to love him just as much as his ten brothers and sisters.

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