This article from the liberal New York Times answers that question.
Excerpt: (links removed)
To begin with, a lack of contraceptive access simply doesn’t seem to be a significant factor in unplanned pregnancy in the United States. When the Alan Guttmacher Institute surveyed more than 10,000 women who had procured abortions in 2000 and 2001, it found that only 12 percent cited problems obtaining birth control as a reason for their pregnancies. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of teenage mothers found similar results: Only 13 percent of the teens reported having had trouble getting contraception.
At the same time, if liberal social policies really led inexorably to fewer unplanned pregnancies and thus fewer abortions, you would expect “blue” regions of the country to have lower teen pregnancy rates and fewer abortions per capita than demographically similar “red” regions.
But that isn’t what the data show. Instead, abortion rates are frequently higher in more liberal states, where access is often largely unrestricted, than in more conservative states, which are more likely to have parental consent laws, waiting periods, and so on. “Safe, legal and rare” is a nice slogan, but liberal policies don’t always seem to deliver the “rare” part.
What’s more, another Guttmacher Institute study suggests that liberal states don’t necessarily do better than conservative ones at preventing teenagers from getting pregnant in the first place. Instead, the lower teenage birth rates in many blue states are mostly just a consequence of (again) their higher abortion rates. Liberal California, for instance, has a higher teen pregnancy rate than socially conservative Alabama; the Californian teenage birth rate is only lower because the Californian abortion rate is more than twice as high.
These are realities liberals should keep in mind when tempted to rail against conservatives for rejecting the intuitive-seeming promise of “more condoms, fewer abortions.” What’s intuitive isn’t always true, and if social conservatives haven’t figured out how to make all good things go together in post-sexual-revolution America, neither have social liberals.
At the very least, American conservatives are hardly crazy to reject a model for sex, marriage and family that seems to depend heavily on higher-than-average abortion rates. They’ve seen that future in places like liberal, cosmopolitan New York, where two in five pregnancies end in abortion. And it isn’t a pretty sight.
This is similar to what we know from other countries like Spain, where increased sex education has led to higher rates of abortion.
What happens in other countries?
Here’s the article from Life Site News.
Abortion advocates often promote contraception by claiming that as contraception use increases, the number of “unwanted” pregnancies and therefore abortions will decrease. But a new study out of Spain has found the exact opposite, suggesting that contraception actually increases abortion rates.
The authors, who published their findings in the January 2011 issue of the journal Contraception, conducted surveys of about 2,000 Spanish women aged 15 to 49 every two years from 1997 to 2007. They found that over this period the number of women using contraceptives increased from 49.1% to 79.9%.
Yet they noted that in the same time frame the country’s abortion rate more than doubled from 5.52 per 1,000 women to 11.49.
This UK Daily Mail story explains how more contraception means more abortion in the UK.
Most pregnancies among girls under 18 ended in abortion last year.
Out of around 40,000 pregnancies more than 20,000 were terminated – the first time more had chosen this option than become mothers.
The figure is higher than 2007, when it just hit 50 per cent, and consistent with a steady upwards trend since the Government started its controversial Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 1999.
Figures out on May 21 will also show that for the first time the number of abortions performed on women living in England and Wales topped 200,000.
The teenage pregnancy strategy, which has cost taxpayers more than £300million, was meant to halve the number of conceptions among girls under 18 in England between 1998 and 2010.
Ministers have tried to slash teenage pregnancies by freely handing out contraceptives and expanding sex education.
But the fall in pregnancy rates has not met Government targets, and in 2007 the rate actually rose.
Teenage pregnancy rates are now higher than they were in 1995. Pregnancies among girls under 16 – below the age of consent – are also at the highest level since 1998.
So handing out contraceptives left and right at taxpayer expense raised the rate of abortion.
Birth control pills and breast cancer
Many studies showed that taking birth control pills caused an increased risk of breast cancer.
Study 1: (March 2003)
RESULTS: Among the youngest age group (<35 years, n = 545), significant predictors of risk included African-American race (RR = 2.66: 95% CI 1.4-4.9) and recent use of oral contraceptives (RR = 2.26; 95% CI 1.4-3.6). Although these relationships were strongest for estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) tumors (RRs of 3.30 for race and 3.56 for recent oral contraceptive use), these associations were also apparent for young women with ER+ tumors. Delayed childbearing was a risk factor for ER+ tumors among the older premenopausal women (Ptrend < 0.01), but not for women <35 years in whom early childbearing was associated with an increased risk, reflecting a short-term increase in risk immediately following a birth.
Study 2: (October 2008)
Oral contraceptive use ≥1 year was associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk for triple-negative breast cancer (95% confidence interval, 1.4-4.3) and no significantly increased risk for non-triple-negative breast cancer (Pheterogeneity = 0.008). Furthermore, the risk among oral contraceptive users conferred by longer oral contraceptive duration and by more recent use was significantly greater for triple-negative breast cancer than non-triple-negative breast cancer (Pheterogeneity = 0.02 and 0.01, respectively).
These are all things to think about when we start talking about using contraceptives as a way to reduce abortions.