How old were you when you first learned that abortion is a thing that exists, and in what context did you learn about it?
I'm asking because I've heard stories of people (especially, but not limited to, catholic school teachers), both in the present day and when my peers were kids, lecturing kids about the evils of abortion when the kids were at an age when I myself hadn't yet even heard of abortion, and I find myself wondering if these lectures would end up teaching the kids that it's even an option.
I don't remember exactly when I first learned about it. I know it wasn't specifically mentioned in the sex ed I received from my parents or my schools, and I can extrapolate from what I know of my learning curve that it wasn't in my sex ed book.
I learned how pregnancy happens around the age of 8 or 9, I reached menarche at 10, and I learned (on a theoretical level, fortunately) that rape exists at 10 as well. So, starting at the age of 10, I had a quietly ever-present fear of being forced to gestate my rapist's baby, and hadn't the slightest clue that pregnancies could be terminated. (I was thinking solely in terms of a rapist because I was still years away from being able to even imagine wanting to have sex voluntarily, even in a distant and hypothetical future.)
Several years later, I read something (I don't remember if it was an article or a work of fiction) where a girl who was pregnant thought that if she skipped rope for hours and hours, she'd have a miscarriage. (I don't remember if she actually tried it or if it actually worked.) This was my first exposure to the idea that miscarriage could be induced. I was relieved to learn that such a thing might be remotely possible, and started brainstorming other ways to force myself to miscarry so I wouldn't have to gestate my rapist's baby. I considered the possibility of simply stopping eating and drinking, thinking that if it didn't cause a miscarriage it would at least kill me, and, by extension, also gave some thought to suicide as a solution. I was probably under the age of 16 when this happened, because I don't remember looking up ways to induce miscarriage on the internet and I'm pretty sure I would have if I'd had internet access at the time.
I became aware of the existence of abortion, as a medical procedure, sometime before the end of high school. Weirdly, I don't remember any single moment of relief at the realization that you can just go somewhere and get it done professionally. There was a time when I knew it existed but didn't know the details of the laws governing its accessibility (I remember mentally debating whether it would be more effective to tell the doctor that I would commit suicide if I couldn't have an abortion or to actually attempt suicide, completely unaware that you don't need to convince them of that particular level of desperation) but I figured it out by the time I was in university.
All of which is to say that if, in middle school or early high school, someone had lectured me about the evils of abortion, they would have been teaching me that it is possible to end a pregnancy and that it is possible to do so with a proper medical procedure. And if someone had taken my child or teenage self to an abortion clinic to protest, they would have taught me "This is where you can go to get an abortion." It's likely this information is more accessible to the youth of today, but some of the stories I heard that inspired this post were about people who were older than me, who surely would have learned a thing or two about how to get an abortion if lectured on the evils of doing so in Grade 6.
What about you? When and how did you learn that abortion exists? If people had lectured your young teenage self on the evils of abortion, would they have been teaching you about its existence?