By Micaiah Bilger, Education Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Internet comment debates about abortion quickly can become fruitless and downright immature, but that doesn’t mean that we as pro-lifers should never try to bring the truth to a conversation.
Pro-lifers can have good conversations with the other side on the Internet. We just have to be tactful and respectful when we do it.
Here are just a few tips:
First, make sure you’re addressing the person’s actual argument. For example, if they’re comment is something along the lines of “my body, my choice,” don’t just respond: “It’s not just your body. Do you have two heads and four feet?” The “my body, my choice” argument can mean several different things. So, don’t just assume you know what the other person is thinking. Ask questions.
Second, back up your argument with sources. It’s best to use something from a neutral source, such as a mainstream news outlet or a reputable research group. If you can find a source from their side, such as research from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, share it.
Third, be respectful of the other person when you disagree with them. Don’t respond with an attitude that makes them feel stupid, or resort to name calling. It’s childish, and it doesn’t win any arguments.
Fourth, if you start feeling angry, take a deep breath and step away from the keypad. It’s easy to get frustrated and angry, but remember that you’re conversing with another human being who you want to help see the truth. “A gentle answer turns away wrath …”
Fifth, don’t feed the trolls. If a commenter keeps responding with nasty remarks, just ignore them. They’re probably just trolling you.
Sixth, if you don’t know, just say so. No one expects you to be the Pro-Life Encyclopedia. Go do some research and get back to them.
To get you thinking, here’s a great example of an Internet debate from Live Action News blogger Kristi Burton Brown.