As Family Research Council has previously reported increasing access to contraception does not decrease the number of abortions. In fact, studies show quite the opposite.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its allies are banging the "family planning decreases the abortion rate" drum on Capitol Hill these days. However the Guttmacher Institute, previously PPFA's own research arm, reports that over half the number women who had an abortion in 2008 --54%-- were using a form of contraception during the month they got pregnant.
In the words of Kristin Powers, who blogged on this story earlier today, "what is truly astonishing about the Guttmacher statistics is that they are completely unchanged from a decade ago."
She is correct. This is not new. Family Research Council wrote on this very topic in our Top Ten Myths of Abortion piece a few years ago,
In the United States, a decrease in contraceptive use in recent years correlates to a decrease in the number of abortions. From 1995 to 2002, the rate of contraceptive use decreased from 64 percent to 62 percent,43 while the number of abortions fell from 1,359,400 to 1,293,000. Contraceptive Use, Facts in Brief, The Alan Guttmacher Institute (March, 2005). These numbers represent use among all women age 15-44, and thus, because many women in this age group would not be sexually active, the rate of use among sexually active women would be higher.
There is more. A study recently published in Contraception conducted in Spain from 1997-2007 showed as contraceptive use increased from a rate of 49.1 to 79.9%, simultaneously the elective abortion rate increased from 5.52 to 11.49 per 1000 women.
"[R]esearch here and abroad shows that increasing access to contraception is not a solution to the problem of soaring abortion rates. In fact, it makes the problem worse. In Sweden, for example, an increase in affordable access to contraception and the presence of free contraceptive counseling have resulted in a substantial increase in the teen abortion rate. The abortion rate has climbed from 17 abortions per thousand teens in 1995 to 22.5 abortions per thousand teens in 2001.(Edgardh, K., et al., Adolescent Sexual Health in Sweden, Sexual Transmitted Infections 78 (2002): 352-6)
According to Professor Peter Arcidiacono of Duke University, increasing teenagers access to contraception may actually increase long run pregnancy rates even though short run pregnancy rates fall. On the other hand, policies that decrease access to contraception, and hence sexual activity, are likely to lower pregnancy rates in the long run. Peter Arcidiacono, et al., Habit Persistence and Teen Sex: Could Increased Contraception Have Unintended Consequences for Teen Pregnancies? (Oct. 3, 2005), Working Paper, p. 29.