The Instructor, a popular British manual for everything from arithmetic to letter-writing to caring for horses, was written in Philadelphia in 1748. Benjamin Franklin was going to adapt it for the American colonies.

Franklin had a long and successful career by this point, but he needed to find a way to convince colonial book-buyers that his version of George Fisher was better. Franklin made a lot of changes to the book, from place names to colonial histories, but he made one really big change: adding John Tennent's The Poor Planter's Physician to the end. Franklin hoped to distinguish the book from its London ancestors by appending it to The Instructor. Franklin claimed that his edition was better adapted to the American Colonies than any other book.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion that the right to abortion is not embedded in the history and traditions of the nation. As much as reading, writing, and arithmetic, abortion was a part of life.

Alito's leaked draft was fully overruled.

Franklin's book had the most explicit recipe for abortion in any math textbook on either side of the Atlantic. The very first arithmetic book to be printed in the colonies in 1705 was inspired by the London book. The recipe in the book was short, misleading, and ineffective. There is an entry for "Terms provoked," a heading that is found under similar medical books with abortifacient concoctions. Unfortunately for his readers, he prescribes goosefoot, which is an emmenagogue, but not a reliable abortifacient. He suggests that you take a drink of White wine under a full moon.

A page from Franklin's textbook showing the recipe for an abortifacient.

The leading available treatment for ending a pregnant woman's life would be accessible to anyone learning to read, write, and calculate with Franklin's book. The handbook prescribes angelica, an herb that was frequently recommended across early modern herbal books, as an effective abortifacient in the early stages of pregnancy.

For this Misfortune, you must purge with Highland Flagg, (commonly called Bellyach Root) a Week before you expect to be out of Order; and repeat the same two Days after; the next Morning drink a Quarter of Pint of Pennyroyal Water, or Decoction, with 12 Drops of Spirits of Harts-horn, and as much again at Night, when you go to Bed. Continue this 9 Days running; and after resting 3 Days, go on with it for 9 more.

The entry combines attention to potent herbs with careful accounting of dosage to treat the. This is consistent with the timing for maximum efficacy for angelica, a plant member of the carrot family. The ancient Greeks used pennyroyal as a form of birth control, as well as harts-horn and century plant, which were also used for abortions and expelling afterbirth. The entry advises that the patients should be cautious of taking Opiates too often, or Jesuits-Bark, a remedy for Malaria sometimes mistakenly thought to be an abortifacient.

The book's earlier instructional sections taught the kind of knowledge that the recipe details assume these women had. Careful attention to measurement and counting is required by the recipe. It requires the preparer to work with multiples of three. Franklin had a track record of promoting female education. In his early articles,Silence Dogood, he advocates for it and singles out the widow of a Dutch printer who saved the family business. Franklin made an explicit call for that branch of education for our young females, and he likely hoped that his American Instructor would reach audiences that included women and girls.

A reader pulled out a page from a 1760 edition of The American Instructor that had an abortion recipe, either to save it from being seen or to keep it out of the public eye. The Gilbert family used the book as a kind of family Bible, with Thomas Gilbert entering the names and birthdates of his children into it, even including the five-, according to a copy held at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Births, abortions, and the like were taken for granted in this colonial American book, thanks to Franklin, and have been ever since. Two fugitives from enslavement, both black, left at night from Nanjemoy, Maryland, in search of freedom and took with them a gun, powder, and two books.

While I read the news this past week, I thought of Franklin's book multiple times, as an early American literary critic who works on the history of numeracy. Florida legislators want to excise social and emotional learning exercises from math textbooks for children, as though presenting math without context has ever been helpful or even the norm. The ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health will make abortion illegal for me, my students, and my daughters in central Ohio, where new Intel factories are about to require tens of thousands of workers. For many of us, abortion access is an essential part of education. It keeps us in school because we already have fed and housed the kids while they are in school. It is like treatment for the many other diseases listed in the medical handbook.

Alito's draft argues that the Constitution does not reference abortion.

John Tennent was wrongly identified as James Tennant.