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How to have a conversation about abortion

So say one day you are sitting on your lunch break at work/school/uni. You are about to bite into your sandwich/salad until you hear a voice say, "So I hear you are pro-life."

Your heart sinks. You look up and see a colleague/friend/peer/possibly even a relative.

*Oh here we go.*

"I don't know - it just seems like you are trying to tell women what to do with their bodies. Like, what gives you the right?"

Tip #1. Stay calm.

You take a deep breath. You remember having read an article written by one of the geniuses at Abortion Resistance. You hastily try to recall the advice they gave for a situation such as this. A situation where you aren't confident at debate, don't want to make enemies of your peers but also want to give a decent account of your position.

“As a former fetus, I maintain the right to have opinions on this. As a human being, I recognise this as a human rights issue, therefore I’m qualified to speak about it. As member of society, I view abortion as the unjust killing of innocents, therefore it is my duty to defend them.”

There we go, stick up for yourself. The opposition is often not very forgiving, so you have to be able to stay strong and stay calm. Never let anyone make you feel like just because you are of a certain gender, religion, or political persuasion your opinion is invalid.

Tip #2 Don’t get heated.

Remember that they are your colleague/friend/peer/ relative. Especially avoid getting heated if you notice the other person getting heated. You can’t fight fire with fire.

Just sit back, relax your body, unclench that jaw and treat the person you’re speaking to how you would like to be treated.

Tip #3. Remember to use language that is direct, but not heartless - you never know what the person you are talking to has been through.

This is actually advice that pro-aborts could do with remembering also. You don’t know whether the person you are speaking to has had an abortion, or has been affected by it in any way. So it’s best not to lead with things like, “I just think that anyone who has been complicit in an abortion is a terrible human being.” Anyone who has had any exposure to pro-aborts online is sure to have encountered sentiments such as:

“Well I think you are a low-life, f****** ?!*!?$ !?&* !&#!?”

This can make it hard to remember that what you are probably dealing with is a broken person who is full of anger and hatred, all directed at themselves, yet they are unloading it on you. In these situations, it's best not to engage with anything other than care and compassion. At the very least, you can walk away knowing that, worst case scenario, you might have inadvertently become the pillow for them to scream into, in which case they are hopefully feeling some relief.

Tip #4. Stick to the facts and remember that science is on your side.

The best place to start is by establishing when a human becomes human. You can pretty much determine how the rest of your conversation will go based on their answer to this question. The more conservative pro-aborts will say abortions shouldn’t happen past the 1st trimester, whereas the extreme pro-aborts say that abortion should be an option even up to birth. Just remember that science dictates that life begins at conception and, as such, so do the rights of the conceived child. After conception there is no logical point in the pregnancy to pin as the moment that the fetus “becomes” a child and worthy of the right to life.

Memorise a few facts and figures - not to show off - but to help strengthen your argument. Here’s a couple of good ones:

  • 98% of all abortions over the past several years have consistently been for social reasons in the UK.

  • Abortion rates in lower income areas are twice as high as those in higher incomes areas.

Tip #5 Avoid being overly anecdotal.

Personal stories are powerful, but are best sprinkled into your argument.

When storytelling, people tend to exaggerate their points to try and make them sound more extreme than they actually are (especially when debating something they feel passionate about). Be truthful, and don’t over or under exaggerate.

Tip #6. Don't be caught out by questions designed to trap you.

There are several that pro-choicers love to employ:

"Ok so you think that a fetus is human even at conception? Well what if you were in a burning building and there was a freezer full of one thousand frozen embryos and a three year old child and you could only grab one or the other? What then? Which do you choose?"

So there is an obvious answer here - you choose no one and save yourself. Mwahaha.

Ok but seriously, this is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Answer the question with your truthful answer (which is probably that you would save the 3 year old due the emotional response you would have). Point out that you can believe that both the embryos and the three-year old have equal right to life, and that actions performed during a stressful, emergency situation bear no consequence to the argument. Not only that, but saving one of the two doesn’t mean you intentionally killed the other…so it’s not a comparable analogy to abortion which DOES intentionally kill.

Another common one is:

“You forced birther! You don’t care about what happens to the baby once it’s born! Have YOU adopted a child?”

For those of us who have actually adopted - this question isn’t an issue.

But you will be pleased to know that it doesn’t have to be an issue for those who haven’t either. You merely have to respond with something along the lines of “I don’t have to adopt unwanted babies in order to know that killing them is wrong.”

Tip #7. Don't let them get away with claiming that you hate women or want to shame them.

Politely inform them that it is possible to be concerned about both mother and child. Remind them of the horrific psychological damage that abortion does to women. If they don't believe it or say, "Yeah, but not all women get that. Most are happy and relieved after", point out that hundreds of anonymous calls to helplines and the sharp increase in psychiatric services since the Abortion Act was passed in the 60s say otherwise.

Tip #8. Women may think you are trying to take away one of their rights, but remind them that the right to life comes first.

The fact of the matter is that abortion is not a “right” that every human is inherently owed. The right to life, however, is. And yes, while a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her body, she shouldn’t be able to sentence the body of her unborn child to death. Just keep in mind that without the right life, no other right can exist.

Tip #9. Argue the person not their slogans.

Often people won’t be willing to engage in civil discourse with you but are quite happy to quote slogans they’ve heard on twitter and refuse to make an original point. Try not to fall into this yourself. Make sure your points are tailored to who you are speaking to and don’t just use slogans back at them

Tip #10. Don't try to "win".

Convincing someone to change their mind is nothing like the debates we see online. Most of the time, the people engaged in these debates are not actually trying to convince each other of their respective opinions. Rather, they enjoy challenging others and because of that they resort to "gotcha" moments which usually tend to just aggravate the opponent. Consider the humanity of the other person. This person, no matter how extreme their opinions may be, or how awful they behave towards you, is just another human being trying to figure life out - quite literally! Truth has a way of making itself apparent to people eventually, and so you shouldn’t enter a conversation pressuring yourself to be the arbitrator of the moment they “see the light”. Instead you should aim purely to be a mere stepping stone for the person toward acknowledging the humanity of innocent unborn children. For that in itself, is a huge achievement.

Now, look your colleague/friend/peer/relative calmly in the eye and begin.

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1 комментарий

Alma Tirkey
Alma Tirkey
07 авг. 2022 г.

Thank you, so much for this advise. Today, in our class there was a discussion regarding abortion and I couldn’t defend properly. But I told that aborting just because they have Down syndrome is not right. I could have said so much but I didn’t. I was so sad at the point of crying and I felt a sense of guilt in me then I came across your Twitter account. Since I am not good at debating and talking to people this advice is god send. Thank you😀

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