Well, what do you know? If a state makes contraception available to more women—particularly young and poor women—that state's teen birth rate, abortion rate, and welfare caseload all plummet:
A program that provides contraceptives to low-income women contributed to a 40-percent drop in Colorado's teen birth rate over five years, according to state officials. The program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at 68 family planning clinics in Colorado. The teen abortion rate dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in counties served by the program, according to the state's estimates. Young women served by the family planning clinics also accounted for about three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado's teen birth rate during the same time period. And the infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a nutrition program for low-income women and their babies, fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.
Conservatives insist that women who can't afford birth control should simply go without sex. But faced with a choice between immediate deprivation (going without sex) and abstract risk (chancing a pregnancy), most women (and men) will take their chances. And when women who take their chances get pregnant, conservatives rush in to condemn them for being "irresponsible." But give poor and working women access to effective birth control—free IUDs and implants—and they will use it. So the lesson in Colorado is that most women want to be "responsible," it's just that too many can't afford to be. The cost of an IUD, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg pointed out in her blistering Hobby Lobby dissent, "is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."
The lesson in Colorado for conservatives ought to be this: You can be against abortion or you can be against contraception but you can't be against abortion and against contraception. Making contraception harder for women to get—looking at you, Hobby Lobbyists—means more unplanned pregnancies and more unplanned pregnancies mean more abortions.
So why are conservatives fighting so hard to make contraception harder for women to obtain? Because they don't think people—young people, poor people, unmarried people, gay people—should be able to enjoy "consequence-free sex." Because it's sex that they hate—it's sex for pleasure that they hate—and they hate that kind of sex more than they hate abortion, teen moms, and welfare spending combined. Knowing that some people are having sex for pleasure without having their futures disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy or having their health compromised by a sexually transmitted infection or having to run a traumatizing gauntlet of shrieking "sidewalk counselors" to get to an abortion clinic keeps them up at night.