["Arguing against facts is an exercise in futility"].
Contra factum non valet argumentum
In Colorado, the pro-choice community has decided after some period
of disagreement and discussion to refuse all invitations to debate ...
we respond to all requests from schools for educational presentations
concerning abortion. If the sponsors want both sides presented,
however, the presentations must be made on different occasions. We
insist that visual aid materials not be presented by either side.
Abortionist Warren Hern.
My experience is that the fanatic hides from true debate. The
concept of dialogue is foreign to him. He knows how to speak in
monologues only, so debate is superfluous to him.
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel.
The Benefits of Learning to Debate.
Over a period of many years, experienced debaters have developed and
refined time-tested tactics that greatly increase their chances for
success before the general public. These "rules for verbal
combat" or debate tactics have been proven over centuries by people
who not only learn them, but eventually know them so well that they
unconsciously incorporate them even in everyday discussions.
The ability to speak and reason logically is not only invaluable to
the pro-life movement, but is greatly beneficial to an individual's
career and self-confidence as well.
On the Other Side ...
The average pro-lifer possesses a fairly high degree of
self-discipline, in contrast to the average pro-abortionist, who is
conditioned to expect both physical and mental gratification instantly
and with minimal effort. Most abortophiles have become sloppy and
lazy in their reasoning processes as well, because all that matters to
them is the drive to achieve a comfortable lifestyle. They find it
extremely difficult to 'change gears' and rigorously and critically
examine an issue, and so they become addicted to false assumptions,
Newspeak, and slogans.
This is one reason a pro-lifer may find it so difficult to
communicate with a pro-abort. The pro-lifer is trying to discuss ideas;
the pro-abort is discussing individual events and people. He is
literally thinking and speaking at a lower level.
Preparation for Debate.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds events; and small minds
Admiral Hyman Rickover.
The Value of a Good Debater.
Accomplished pro-life debaters are of almost incalculable value to
the movement. They can shine the light of truth wherever they go. They
are effective recruiters, because they can persuade people. They can
shift a comfortable pastor from the fence of neutrality onto the field
of action. The can also influence the public by efficiently cutting
through the thick pro-abortion curtain of lies and half-truths.
In short, a person with good debating skills makes an excellent
Preparation for becoming an accomplished debater takes place on two
simultaneous and parallel planes: (1) learning the topic, and (2)
learning and practicing actual debate tactics.
A debater MUST know his topic! This vital point cannot be
overemphasized! The best debater in the world won't impress anyone if he
doesn't know his facts.
If an activist chooses to focus on one life issue, he should study it
extensively but every debater must consider himself to be a lifetime
student in all of the life issues, since they are all intimately
No matter how narrow a person's interests are, he should become
generally familiar with all of the life issues in at least enough depth
to be able to answer the most basic questions on all of them. This is
because any debate on the life issues, no matter how narrow its focus,
will inevitably wander into related areas.
The remainder of this chapter briefly describes the basic rules for
debate. Learning and practicing these rules is essential for any debate,
whether it be in a television studio or on a street corner. An activist
who plans to do a lot of debating may want to practice extensively by
having friends play the anti-life 'devil's advocate.'
Tactics for Public Debate.
No matter what level a pro-lifer is debating on, he automatically has
an insurmountable advantage over his anti-life opponent, because the
anti-life position is basically indefensible. It is the pro-lifer's job
to demonstrate indirectly how absurd and destructive the anti-life
philosophy really is by showing how reasonable the pro-life position is.
In order to maximize the chances of decisively winning a debate, the
debater must plan and prepare for the confrontation just as he would for
any other type of mission. If he sufficiently practices and hones his
debating skills, he will literally be guaranteed victory in each
and every encounter with the anti-life 'enemy.'
The rules for debate preparation and for actual debate are listed in
Figure 29-1 and are described in detail in the following paragraphs.
RULES FOR DEBATE REPARATION AND TACTICS FOR SUCCESSFUL DEBATING
RULES FOR DEBATE PREPARATION
(1) Know your mission.
(2) Know your topic.
(3) Know yourself.
(4) Know your opponent's background.
(5) Know your opponent's tactics.
(6) Know your audience.
(7) Know the debating environment.
TACTICS DURING THE DEBATE
(1) Begin and conclude sharply.
(2) Assume control.
(3) Stay on the subject.
(5) Repeat important points.
(6) Listen effectively.
(7) Use visual aids.
(8) Don't argue.
AT ALL TIMES
Be an eternal student.
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #1
Know Your Mission.
Just as there is a broader mission for pro-life activism as a whole,
there is a narrower mission for each pro-life job a person sets out to
accomplish. It is therefore mandatory that an activist know why
he is debating a pro-abort.
The mission of a pro-life debater is not to make his anti-life
opponent appear ignorant, ridiculous or stupid, however tempting or easy
this may seem. The mission is to make the pro-life position
appear reasonable in comparison to the pro-abortion position.
The mission is the most important of the seven parameters that must
be addressed in order to conduct a successful debate. These parameters
are listed in Figure 29-2, which is modeled after the planning worksheet
contained in Chapter 3, "The Basics of Pro-Life Planning."
THE SEVEN ESSENTIAL PARAMETERS FOR A SUCCESSFUL DEBATE OR PRESENTATION
[A medium text size on your computer's 'view'
setting is recommended, otherwise, the table may be discombobulated.]
DEFINITION and EXAMPLE
The specific objective
To convince an audience that they
would like to
should vote for a pro-life ballot
The group that you
An audience of about 500, expected
to be moderately conservative and
Lesbian clinic escort who is prone
that will directly
to hysteria and making absurd
indirectly try to
statements and accusations; this
is your debating opponent
Persons and equipment
Your mind, your skills, experience,
will assist you
knowledge, good audio-visual aids,
and the inherent superiority of the
the pro-life position
The conditions under
Debate in a high school auditorium,
you must work to
followed by a question and answer
Legal, biological, and theological
data that will assist
data that supports your position,
and information on the other side's
The methods you use
It is important to avoid persecuting an opponent, however justified
this may seem at the time. Society usually sympathizes with the
underdog, and if a pro-lifer appears to be browbeating his opponent, he
will lose the debate in the eyes of his audience even if his facts and
logic are unimpeachable.
Planned Parenthood in particular plays upon public sympathy by
persistently assuming the role of the underdog. Its representatives
emphasize how terrified and frightened they are by "brutal
anti-choice thugs" who "bomb, harass and intimidate
women" and are part of a "carefully orchestrated campaign to
deprive poor women and women of color of their most basic human
rights." Its debaters are usually mild-mannered grandmotherly
types, and a pro-lifer will look bad if he verbally mugs Grandma.
The best way to refute an anti-lifer's lies or whining ploys for
sympathy is with cold, hard facts. The pro-life debater should not be
afraid to deny and disprove falsehoods and slogans. Above all, the
pro-lifer must remain logical and calm and must describe to his audience
the ploy that his opponent is trying to foist off on them.
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #2: Know Your Topic.
This is the second of the two absolutely mandatory preparation rules.
If a person knows his topic, he may be able to overcome several other
shortcomings during a debate. But nothing will save him if he
doesn't have a firm grasp of the material!
It is human nature to ignore or avoid evidence that erodes or
compromises one's position. As Simon and Garfunkel pointed out in their
ballad "The Boxer," "A man hears what he wants to hear
and disregards the rest."
Therefore, since the vast majority of hard data and logic supports
the pro-life position, the average anti-life debater will be appallingly
ignorant of even the basic numbers and facts that every pro-lifer knows
by heart. This can be a tremendous advantage for the pro-life debater,
because his debating opponent will be forced to resort to empty slogans
that are easy to refute (see Chapter 16, "Anti-Life Slogans,"
for a detailed explanation of and rebuttals to the most popular
The tactic of refuting a bogus anti-life statistic or claim quickly
and cleanly with documented evidence is devastatingly effective, and an
anti-lifer will almost never be capable of regaining the initiative or
momentum once a pro-life debater has sharply debunked one of his bogus
claims in a debate. Nothing impresses an audience more than a person who
can quickly and dispassionately disprove his opponent's claims with
This is the purpose of The Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia,
which acts as a portable yet comprehensive source of information on the
life issues. No such reference exists (or could ever exist) on
the anti-life side. It will give a pro-lifer an insurmountable advantage
in a debate if he knows how to use it.
Anyone who intends to use the Encyclopedia in a debate situation
should first become intimately familiar with its layout.
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #3: Know Yourself.
This might sound like an obvious debate rule, but it is extremely
important for a debater to know what his strengths and limitations are
before he actually engages in "verbal combat."
Many people are scared to death by the idea of debating in front of a
crowd of hundreds of people. But every pilot who has ever flown a Boeing
747 crammed with just as many people was probably scared to death by the
idea of so much responsibility before he began to fly.
All it takes is study and practice. This is best accomplished in four
general steps, as shown below.
Step (1): Learn the Topic.
Use the "Debate Drill Sheet" provided in Chapter 16 on
"Anti-Life Slogans." The lines on the Debate Drill Sheet
correspond to a series of actual debates. Each line consists of eight
major points discussed in sequence during each debate.
Look at the first box in the first line. The number in the box
corresponds to one of the most common anti-life slogans described in
Chapter 16. Call to mind what your response to this slogan would be.
Then check the summary of the rebuttal to the slogan in Chapter 16 to
see if you covered all of the points you wanted to.
By the time you have finished the entire sheet, you will have
practiced rebutting each of the most common anti-life slogans at least
four times. This drill will give you the basic knowledge you need to
engage in a debate.
Although this process takes about four hours and may seem tedious at
times, the results are well worth the effort.
Step (2): Practice Debating With Friends.
The next step is to practice debating skills with real live people.
It is generally possible to find a pro-life friend who will agree to
play the devil's (anti-life) advocate. Have your helper use the Debate
Drill Sheet or some random sequence of numbers from 1 to 35 to select a
succession of slogans that you can rebut. If a helper is not available,
you could simply put 35 numbered pieces of paper in a box and pull them
out one by one until the box is empty.
You may also want to practice at a special workshop or meeting in
front of an audience consisting of several other pro-life debaters,
preferably including one or more with extensive experience. These
seasoned activists can give you a lot of good, practical advice that
will keep you from making many of the early mistakes that they did.
It is a good idea to videotape these practice debates if possible.
You make almost as great an impression on the audience with your
appearance and mannerisms as you do with your actual speaking. Get
someone else's opinion. Everyone thinks that they look ridiculous on
television or that their own voice sounds bizarre on a tape.
Step (3): Debate With Abortophiles.
Now that you have had several hours of practice among friends, it is
time to "toughen up" by experiencing the anger and the torrent
of illogic spewed by a live abortophile. The easiest way to do this is
to go to a picket and practice your skills with a pro-abortion
counter-demonstrator or deathscort. This will give you a feeling for
just how sloganistic and unthinking their "logic" really is.
Step (4): Record Your Experiences.
When you begin actual debates, keep a log of your experiences in a
notebook. Record your mistakes in delivery and presentation, and strive
to eliminate them in future debates. You might also want to record
pertinent information about your debating opponent for future use.
Persevere! Debating takes practice, but eventually the proper
facts and paths of thinking will come to you as naturally as breathing!
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #4: Know Your Opponent's Background.
You can get a good 'leg up' early in any debate by researching your
opponent's personal background and the attitudes, attributes, actions
and background of his organization(s).
The important thing to remember here is that all of your sources
should be generally available to the public. If you employ rumors or
hearsay, you may be liable to legal action for slander or libel.
The best way to approach this task is to obtain back issues of your
opponent's national and local organizational newsletters. Every
pro-abortion group has them: Local and national offices of Planned
Parenthood, National Organization for Women, NARAL, Radical Women,
Communist groups, and so on.
You can obtain them from a pro-life friend who has managed to get on
their mailing list, look them up in the library, or get an friend
unknown to the pro-abortionists to visit their offices to do research.
Information On Your Opponent.
Look for personal information on your debating opponent.
Pro-abortionists love to pat each other on the back (it's all part of
their mutual 'empowerment'), and when a new staffer signs on or leaves,
their organizational newsletter will describe the person's history in
detail and lavishly praise him or her. If your debate is important
enough, you may want to call pro-life groups in cities where your
opponent has previously served in pro-abortion groups, in order to glean
juicy tidbits of information.
Look for clues regarding your opponent's upbringing, and whether or
not she has had an abortion (which can explain a lot). Is the person
from a Catholic family? Why did he or she get involved in abortion
activism in the first place? Can you glean some good radical quotes from
their anti-life newsletters that will provide insight?
The anti-life debater may be fond of trotting out a "Silent No
More" story about a female friend or relative who died of an
illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade. Since at least 99% of these
stories are absolutely and completely bogus, you can decisively
discredit your opponent if you can prove that his or her story is false
(get good documentation)! If the 'deceased relative' is a sister, aunt,
daughter, or mother, this information would be on public record and
would be relatively easy to check.
One Los Angeles pro-abortion activist, Frank Mendiola, greatly
embarrassed his movement after he had presented a story to the President
of the United States about how his twin sister had allegedly died on a
kitchen table of an illegal abortion; it was eventually discovered that
he was an only child!
In particular, try to get a general feel for your opponent's
attitudes. This will allow you to anticipate their arguments and tailor
Information On Your Opponent's Organization.
Details on your opponent's organization(s) are also important. Look
for general policy statements, stupid or indefensible quotes on national
and local levels, and the activities of the organization on national and
Have they publicly denounced China's forced abortion program? If not,
why not? How do they feel about sex-selection abortions? Have
they sued local pro-life activists and perjured themselves in court?
Court records and transcripts are generally available in law libraries
and from local pro-life attorneys who have been involved in specific
Perform all of this research with the objective of continually
keeping your opponent on the defensive by pointing out the many
inconsistencies that are naturally inherent in their personal and
organizational pro-abortion philosophy and positions.
General Tactical Considerations.
Your level of aggressiveness will depend largely upon your opponent's
debating style. Debaters from within each pro-abortion organization seem
to be stamped from the same mold, but style sometimes differs greatly
from group to group.
If you are going up against a person from the National Organization
for Women or the 'Religious' Coalition for Abortion Rights, you will
find that they are usually very aggressive and employ very abrasive and
extreme language. In such cases, you may want to 'hang back' just a
little in the debate, and assume a somewhat defensive posture. In this
manner, you can allow your opponent plenty of rope to hang themselves:
They will almost certainly make silly remarks that you can immediately
attack. Nothing impresses like effective counterpunching.
If you decide to try this tack, just be certain that your opponent
does not hog all of your debating time.
Try a different debating style if you are facing someone from Planned
Parenthood or the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). These
people are rigorously trained in the use of Newspeak and soothing
language. They will prattle on for minutes at a time on 'feel-good'
topics, and are absolute masters at avoiding the messier and more
embarrassing (for them) aspects of baby-killing. It won't be long before
you feel like you are in a room full of cotton candy, because your
opponent will try to smother you (and your audience) with words.
If you are debating a person who uses this tactic, go on the offense
immediately. Be aggressive and attack, attack, attack! Sling every
particle of statistical mud you can lay your mind on and press
vigorously. Don't let go of your opponent! Keep the pressure on, and try
to take as much of the debating time as possible. If given the
opportunity, your opponent will ramble on pointlessly and consume all
Remember, when you go up against a PP or NARAL type, emphasize to the
audience that he or she is merely talking about feelings and concepts,
while you are giving the listeners hard facts and statistics. You may
want to point this out directly to the audience.
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #5: Know Your Opponent's Debating Tactics.
There are two sides to every contest: The offense and the defense. No
army, team, or individual can afford to emphasize one to the detriment
or exclusion of the other. If they do, they will not complete their
Pro-life debaters must not only be familiar with effective offensive
debating tactics, they must be able to recognize and counter the tactics
commonly used by pro-abortionists and other anti-lifers such as
euthanasiasts, pornographers, and homosexuals.
No matter what variations they assume, there are basically only five
primary anti-life debating tactics. When a pro-life debater becomes
familiar with them to the point of being able to identify them
immediately when they are used, he will enjoy a great advantage in any
The five basic anti-life debating tactics are outlined below and are
described in the following paragraphs.
OUTLINE OF ANTI-LIFE DEBATING TACTICS
(1) Simple diversion
(2) Attacks on the individual
(a) Stereotypical labeling
(b) Guilt by association
(c) Questioning motivations
(d) Allegations of inconsistency
(3) Appeals to ignorance
(4) Appeals to the people
(a) Appeal to the emotions
(b) Appeal to prejudice
(c) Appeal to sympathy
(d) Appeal to self-interest
(5) Employing a higher degree of obscurity
Anti-Life Debate Tactic #1:
The Purposes of Diversion.
When one possesses an inherently weak position in any contest, it is
necessary to resort to trickery and deception in order to win. One of
the most common and effective tactics employed by the weaker party in
any contest is simple diversion of attention.
The anti-lifer knows that the best he can do against an experienced
pro-life debater is to break even. Therefore, the easiest way for the
anti-lifer to garner a tie in the debate is to drag a series of
tangential or irrelevant topics into the discussion. Many of these
topics have absolutely nothing to do with abortion. The anti-life
debater brings them up in an attempt to distract the attention of the
audience during a debate.
Quite simply, if the pro-abortionist can appear to be reasonable when
offering facts that nobody can dispute on a topic unrelated to
abortion he can then expect that this reasonableness will transfer over
to his position on abortion in the minds of the audience. The members of
the audience will walk away and make the connection between the
pro-abortionist's position on abortion and his logical and concise
presentation on topics that have nothing to do with abortion. The
product of this connection will be the vague feeling that the
pro-abortion position is superior.
Examples of Diversion.
Every pro-abortion slogan is based upon the desire to divert
attention, as shown in Chapter 16. Actual examples of the anti-life
debating tactic of simple diversion follow.
In its 1974 debate guide entitled "Preparing for
Action," the National Abortion Rights Action League stated flatly
that "Legal abortion will decrease the number of unwanted
children, battered children, child abuse cases, and possibly
subsequent delinquency, drug addiction, and a host of social ills
believed to be associated with neglectful parenthood." This is
an expanded variant of the "Every child a wanted child!"
"Abortion is perfectly legal! Anti-choice people, who are
merely puppets of the richly-funded extreme Right, therefore have no
standing to tamper with our most fundamental Constitutional right to
control our own bodies."
"Woman's body, woman's choice! You can't tell me what I
can do with my own uterus!"
"You can't legislate morality! Don't foist your brand of
morality off on me!"
"No mandatory motherhood!"
"We're not 'pro-abortion.' Call us 'pro-choice' instead.
We only want to secure the right of women to control their own
reproductive destinies. That is what 'choice' is all about. After all,
if you don't want to have an abortion, I won't criticize you for it.
But you must allow others to make that choice."
"Who will decide you or the State?"
The Communists especially like to beat their chests with
mock-aggressive verbal attacks: "If abortion is made illegal, we
will defy the law. We will maintain and extend abortion access for
poor women. We will keep the clinics open! And if you want a war,
you've got one!"
The only way to counter such diversions is to forcibly and
immediately bring the debate back to the topic of discussion. Methods
for disposing of the above anti-life slogans (and many others) are
contained in Chapter 16.
Anti-Life Debate Tactic #2:
Attack the Individual.
This tactic, known as argumentum ad hominem, or "arguing
to the man," consists of attacking a person or his organization
instead of his moral or logical position. Instead of arguing to the
point (argumentum ad rem), the anti-life debater attempts to
distract audience attention away from the topic under discussion.
Ad hominem arguments generally fall into four categories: (A)
stereotypical labeling, (B) guilt by association, (C) calling the
pro-lifer's motivations into question, and (D) alleging inconsistency.
Examples of these arguments follow.
Tactic A: Stereotypical Labeling.
Anti-lifers commonly describe themselves as champions of the civil
rights of everyone except those persons who happen to disagree with
Anti-lifers are accomplished word police. They strenuously and loudly
object when anyone around them engages in stereotypical, discriminatory,
or racist labeling. In fact, they lobby constantly to have such labeling
declared a "hate crime," and have actually succeeded on many
fronts. For example, at Yale, Dartmouth, and many other colleges, any
student who dares call a sodomite a "fag" or a
"queer" will immediately be dismissed from the university.
However, most anti-lifers feel perfectly justified in using
stereotypical labeling against conservatives, and this will usually
occur several times an hour during a debate. This tactic almost always
includes the argumentum ad individuum, or an "appeal to
Following are a few actual examples of anti-life stereotypical
"Well, you just think that way because you are a Catholic
"I will not be dictated to by a Bible-thumping religious
"You anti-choicers are all anti-sexual
According to the Revolutionary Communist Party of the United
these people who want to forcibly take away a woman's
right to abortion
are nothing but vicious, rabid dogs."
The best way to counter this tactic is to patiently point out to the
audience that the anti-life debater is engaging in unjustified and
judgmental stereotyping and pigeonholing. If the anti-lifer continues to
stereotype the pro-lifer, the 'victim' should simply pause each time and
point out the tactic. When this has been done several times, the
audience will begin get the idea and the anti-life debater will begin to
feel the heat of disapproval from observers who can see through his
Tactic B: Guilt By Association.
One of the most effective ploys used by anti-life debaters is guilt
by association. The anti-lifer will identify and describe the most
extreme actual or fictional pro-life character he possibly can and will
then attempt to convince an audience that all pro-lifers share that
person's philosophy, beliefs, and actions.
Following are a few examples of anti-life 'guilt by association;'
"You anti-choicers are all violent fanatics. You people
bomb clinics and
harass women constantly."
"Hitler and his Nazis were anti-choice too."
"The Catholic Church was guilty of mass murder during the
is now guilty of killing thousands of 'gays' because of
its opposition to 'safer
Those who possess the anti-life mentality are inherently violent by
nature. Therefore, the pro-life debater has many opportunities to use
the same 'guilt by association' tactic against the anti-lifer. The
pro-lifer can use it to highlight the absurdity of the anti-life
comparisons and the hypocrisy of the anti-life debater when he reacts
violently to the identical tactic he was just using himself.
If the anti-life debater is a sodomite, the pro-lifer could describe
the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), pointing out that
it is welcomed with open arms at large 'Gay Pride' parades, and then
show with statistics that most or all homosexuals are child molesters
(see Chapter 121 of Volume III, "Homosexuality and Child
Molestation," for this information).
If the anti-lifer is a pro-abortionist, the pro-lifer might describe
some of the extreme examples of pro-abortion violence described in
Chapter 19 and then state as fact that many pro-abortionists
engage in such activities.
If the anti-lifer is a euthanasiast, the pro-lifer could paint a
picture of "Doctor Death" (Jack "The Dripper"
Kevorkian) skulking around in a rusty Volkswagen bus looking for female
victims and ransacking dead bodies for blood and organs to transplant
into living human 'guinea pigs.'
The purpose of this stereotyping is, of course, to incite a reaction
from the anti-lifer and then point out that he does not seem to like the
very tactic that he is fond of using when it is directed against him.
Tactic C: Question Motivations.
If an anti-lifer can convince an audience that pro-life motivations
are suspect or somehow a threat to the public, he has essentially won
the debate. However, this is very difficult. Pro-life and pro-family
activists, unlike anti-lifers, work for the good of society not for
Therefore, the anti-lifer must use extreme language and very nebulous
and false charges to make his 'point.'
A special report in Ms. Magazine alleged that "The
forces that seek reversal of Roe v. Wade are the obvious product of
religious zealotry and misogyny [hatred of women]. There is behind the
sanctification of the fetus a scarifying agenda that seeks to deny
women our personhood, sexuality, and power over procreation; to divert
the all-too-slow march of women of all colors toward
self-determination and equality; and to reestablish state power to
dictate who is an eligible reproducer and sexual partner."
Senator Edward Kennedy (D.-Umb) committed an all-time classic
during Judge Robert Bork's 1987 Supreme Court confirmation lynching;
"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced
into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch
counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight
raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and
artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors
of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of
Julianne Ross Davis, general counsel for the porn-funding
National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), attacked the American Family
Association in an address to the University of Pennsylvania School of
Law. She charged that "The American Family Association ... has a
24-point political agenda it would like to see attained by the year
2000. It includes the elimination of democracy, elimination of public
schools, advocates that astrologers, adulterers, blasphemers,
homosexuals, and incorrigible children be executed, preferably by
stoning. That's one of our enemies. This is true."
The Revolutionary Communist Party yet again: "There are
"Christian Soldiers" on the loose. They assault women in
front of health clinics. They claim to be the saviors of unborn
babies. But they are really Christian Fascists morality police with a
whole program of oppression for women and children. Not only are they
against a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy they are against
birth control and against sex for women who are not married."
There are several simple ways to respond to these spurious charges;
by pointing out the absurdity of the allegations, showing how the
anti-lifer is insulting the beliefs of pro-life members of the audience,
and by demanding proof by asking (several times, if necessary) the
question "How do you know that?" It also helps, once again, to
show that the anti-lifer is stereotyping all of those people who do not
happen to agree with his philosophy.
Tactic D: Allegations of Inconsistency.
An anti-lifer's version of 'consistency' is one of his highest
possible goods. If he can somehow 'prove' that the pro-life debater is
'inconsistent' (by 'showing' that all pro-lifers are
inconsistent), he will plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the
"You anti-choicers are inconsistent because you favor the
"You anti-choicers are inconsistent because you support U.S.
imperialism in foreign countries."
"You are inconsistent because you value the life of the fetus
above the life
of the woman. Your anti-choice legislators always vote
care for poor women."
These charges are invariably based upon bogus or doctored statistics.
The best way to defend against allegations of inconsistency is simply to
produce statistics that show the allegations are false. Alternatively,
the pro-life debater could simply dismiss the anti-life charges as
'stereotyping' and demand proof of the allegations.
The statistics and sources necessary to debunk these and other bogus
pro-abortion allegations are available in various places in the Encyclopedia.
Anti-Life Debate Tactic #3:
Appeal to Ignorance.
Introduction. When a person states as fact biased views
or statistics that cannot immediately be refuted, he gains points by
appearing to be an expert in the field. This is called argumentum ad
ignorantiam, or "appealing to ignorance."
This is the most common tactic used by all anti-life debaters,
whether they be homosexuals, pornographers, pro-euthanasiasts, or
pro-abortionists. Some examples follow.
Abortionist Warren Hern: "The general atmosphere is one of
survival. Twenty-five percent of the clinics have been bombed. This is
a highly repressive, totalitarian [anti-choice] movement, similar to
the Brown Shirts who broke windows in Jewish shops in
"More than two-thirds of our health care budget goes
toward sustaining people in their last six months of life. Most of
these people are in agony that cannot be alleviated by drugs. It is
inhumane not to support 'death with dignity' via lethal injection for
"AIDS is not a 'gay disease.' Most people who currently
contract the disease are heterosexuals, drug users, and
"Sexually explicit material is cathartic and harmless. No
study has ever proven a link between this type of material and any
"5,000 to 10,000 women per year died of illegal abortions
before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision of 1973."
"Making contraceptives freely availability to teens,
especially through school-based health clinics, will drastically cut
down on the epidemic of teen pregnancy."
"Public opinion polls have consistently shown that
Americans are 78% pro-choice. Anti-choicers are a small and vocal
"Most church denominations either support a woman's right
to choose abortion or do not take a stand on the issue."
"Abortion is ten times safer than childbirth, and as safe
as a tonsillectomy or penicillin shot."
The decisive response to these allegations, of course, is to produce
quotes or statistics (preferably by anti-lifers) that refute the
opposing debater's views.
After this has been done, it is often useful to call the
dependability of the anti-life debater's information into question
repeatedly during the remainder of the debate.
All of the above pro-abortion falsehoods and many others can be
decisively disproven with facts and statistics contained in this Encyclopedia.
Anti-Life Debate Tactic #4:
Appeal to the People.
The second most common tactic used by an anti-life debater is the use
of emotion and hyperbole to appeal to the feelings of an audience and
bring them to his side without actually demonstrating the validity of
his position. This is known as argumentum ad populum, or the
"appeal to the people."
The "appeal to the people" generally takes one or more of
three distinct approaches;
(A) argumentum ad captandum vulgus, the "appeal to the
(B) argumentum ad misericordiam, the "appeal to
(C) argumentum ad crumenam, the "appeal to the purse"
Examples of these tactics are given below.
Tactic A: The Appeal to Emotions.
Under normal circumstances, an experienced debater will only resort
to an appeal to emotion (as opposed to an appeal to logic) if he feels
that he has no other recourse. By contrast, an anti-life debater will
generally begin appealing to the emotions of the audience at the very
beginning of a debate.
The tactic of the 'appeal to the emotions' is extremely strong
(perhaps even instinctual) in pro-abortionists. All a pro-lifer need do
is pick up any piece of pro-abortion or pro-homosexual literature at
random, and he will see the twin themes of appeal to fear and appeal to
anger run strong in the author's writing. This is true not only of local
anti-life publications, but of national newspapers and journals as well.
Some of the more common examples;
"We will never go back to the days of back-alley butchery,
where the best abortion equipment consisted of lye douches,
coathangers, and knitting needles."
Faye Wattleton, former president of the Planned Parenthood
Federation of America, commonly appeals directly to the fear of her
audience by painting a picture of the brutal 1984-style repressive
society that she alleges will rise if preborn babies are protected:
"Step by horrifying step, our government is commandeering control
of our bodies, our reproduction, our most private choices. Unless we
act now, this dangerous trend won't stop at abortion. It won't even
stop at eliminating contraception. Compulsory pregnancy, forced
caesareans, surveillance and detention of pregnant women these are the
chilling, logical outcome of laws that reduce women to instruments of
A Planned Parenthood propaganda ad that received wide
circulation in major newspapers appealed to both fear and a sense of
justice as it claimed that "If you have a miscarriage you could
be prosecuted for murder. Even a miscarriage could be investigated as
a criminal offense. Amazing as it sounds, you could be prosecuted for
Tactic B: The Appeal to Sympathy.
One of the strongest themes in pro-abortion and other anti-life
thought is the oppressor/oppressed juxtaposition. Anti-lifers correctly
perceive that, if they can paint themselves as the near-helpless and
brutalized 'victim,' they will go a long way towards winning a debate.
Seeking the 'victim mentality' is a cornerstone of anti-life strategy
as well, and is described in Chapter 9.
Some examples of the appeal to sympathy are shown below.
"Women [homosexuals, obscene 'artists,' pedophiles,
prostitutes, pornographers] are being oppressed by well-funded
right-wing ideological groups. We just cannot match their expenditures
of money and domination of the media."
"The freedom to learn is under concerted attack by the
radical Right fanatics, who want to ban and burn all books that do not
precisely conform to their narrow view of morality."
"Outlawing abortion will create a class of millions of
criminals those poor, suffering women who are literally driven to
"What about the woman who is brutally raped? Must she bear
the double burden of shame that comes from bearing the child of a
forced conceptions? What about the young girl who is the victim of
"What about hideously deformed fetuses that will never
have any quality of life?"
"Banning abortion discriminates against those who can
least afford such discrimination young, frightened women with no
resources, poor women, and women of color."
All of the above arguments are 'hard cases.' The most decisive way to
rebut these points is taken in two steps.
First, show how rare the appropriate class of 'hard cases' really
are. All abortions for rape, incest, fetal deformity, and threat to the
mother's health comprise less than two percent of all abortions. Less
than one percent of all homosexuals have really been the victims of
'hate crimes,' even by their own definition. And the entire
country experiences perhaps two hundred cases of attempted so-called
'censorship' each year, primarily from individual concerned parents who
merely want to be a part of the democratic process by trying to have
input into what their tax-funded libraries present to their own children
and from radical-Left groups.
Secondly, paint a picture of the appropriate typical case.
Describe how the typical woman who obtains an abortion is 22
years old, white, middle-class, capable of paying for her own abortion,
and pregnant as a result of fornication. The typical active
homosexual has had repeated sexual contact with teenage boys, has had
more than 500 sexual partners, most of which he expresses no affection
for, and is basically a sexual addict. The typical obscene
'artist' ridicules our most cherished beliefs while demanding, like a
spoiled child, that we pay for it with our tax dollars or else he'll
stamp his little feet and cry "censorship!"
Tactic C: The Appeal to Self-Interest.
It is a basic tenet of the anti-life mentality that its adherents are
activists for selfish reasons. Homosexuals want special privileges so
they can continue to practice perverted sex with hundreds of anonymous
partners. Pro-abortionists support the slaughter of innocent preborns
just in case they might need the 'option' themselves someday. Peddlers
of obscenity plead for First Amendment rights so they can continue to
exploit others and rake in lots of cash.
Anti-lifers also like to assume that everyone else is just like them,
and so an appeal to the selfish streak in every person comes naturally
Some examples of the 'appeal to self-interest;'
"It costs the State only $200 for a first-trimester
abortion, but it costs an average of $6,000 for prenatal care,
delivery and welfare for a fetus carried to term. These anti-choice
fanatics want to force you, the taxpayer, to pay for all of these
extra welfare babies."
"Outlawing abortion would be an egregious violation of the
separation of church and state and would impose a particular religious
viewpoint on when life begins on all women, regardless of their
beliefs. The anti-choicers will go after birth control methods next,
mark my words!"
"Freedom of choice is in the best traditions of America
and the Constitution. If you let these anti-choice creeps take away
the freedom to choose today, they will be under your bed
The best way to reply to the appeal to self-interest is to
demonstrate to the audience how the anti-life debater is twisting his
facts to suit his conclusion. Point out that a welfare delivery may be
more expensive in the first year, but that eventually that child will be
paying taxes into the system for his entire work life. Show that a
particular religious viewpoint on when life begins has already
been imposed upon all women. Explain that unfettered 'freedom of choice'
essentially means complete anarchy, and give examples.
Anti-Life Debating Tactic #5:
Employ a Higher Degree of Obscurity.
Another common debating tactic used by anti-lifers is obscurum per
obscurius, which is the explanation of an obscure or difficult
concept by using even more obscure or difficult concepts, thereby
guaranteeing that the original concept will not be understood. When this
tactic is used, the anti-lifer is banking on the audience (and his
debating opponent) being too timid to question his 'logic' for fear of
appearing ignorant, not 'up' on the issue, or non-Politically Correct.
Of course, if the anti-life debater can convince his audience that
there is really no way to answer a difficult moral question like
abortion essentially by expanding the moral 'grey area' to cover all
possible permutations and situations he has won the debate, because he
has convinced them that any solution is correct. In other words,
he has gotten the audience to accept his version of situational ethics.
The classic example of this principle, of course, is the pro-abortion
argument that "We don't know when life begins." A detailed
rebuttal to this slogan is contained in Chapter 16.
Other examples of "mystagoguery" are shown below.
"There is a diversity of opinion regarding abortion, and
one group should not be allowed to impose its religious viewpoint on
everyone regarding the difficult and basically unanswerable question
of when life begins."
The assertion that abortion is a religious issue that should not be
legislated by the state is only made when pro-lifers are having
successes. When pro-abortionists gain, then abortion suddenly becomes a
'political issue,' and their viewpoints on when life begins can
be imposed on others.
Another gem by the National Abortion Rights Action League:
"Back to the central issue of personhood and rights; other
non-persons (pigs, cows) have toenails, heartbeats, and the capacity
to feel pain (some say a fetus can only feel pressure, not pain, but
we're not sure), yet these factors alone do not prevent the
destruction of such entities."
"The fetus is not really human or a person. Personhood and
humanity are not inherent in an individual; they are progressively
acquired or bestowed upon individuals by society."
"Abortion is a complex and difficult decision that many
women agonize over. We must not be judgmental of women who make the
best decisions that they possibly can under difficult circumstances.
We must trust women to make these decisions."
"The definition of 'death' is not now what it used to be
in light of new and advanced medical technology that can keep people
in a vegetative state alive for years or even decades. We must
redefine the concept of 'death' to suit society's changing
"AIDS is not a 'Gay disease.' The government and the
Catholic Church are committing genocide against Gays and have
contributed greatly to the spread of the epidemic."
Population controller Garrett Hardin uses inaccurate
pseudo-scientific psychobabble in an attempt at intellectual bullying:
"A set of blueprints is not a house; the DNA of a zygote is not a
human being. There is no moral obligation to conserve DNA if there
was, no man would be allowed to brush his teeth and gums, for in this
brutal operation hundreds of sets of DNA are destroyed
Colorado abortionist Warren Hern uses generous helpings of
psychogibberish in his book Abortion Practice when he claims
that "The relationship between the gravid female and the feto-placental
unit can be understood best as one of host and parasite ... Pregnancy
should be seen as a biocultural event in the context of other human
The best way to reply to the "mystagoguery" tactic is to
point out, through parallelism and extrapolation (explained later in
this chapter), that such anti-life 'logic' simply does not transfer to
other situations and is therefore invalid.
For example, the comparison that Garrett Hardin makes between DNA and
a preborn is patently absurd, and could just as easily be used to
justify the murder of born human beings as preborns. And Warren
Hern's statement should be exposed for what it is: A ridiculous
comparison by a man who apparently thinks that pregnant women are ugly
and somehow 'diseased.' This man, by the way, makes a very rich living
out of committing the acts that he is defending in his book.
The ultimate answer to any of these attempts to complicate is this:
If a person cannot grasp the implications of what he is doing, then he
should not proceed. We must always err on the side of safety and of
life. Pro-abortionists would have us believe that the combined power of
all of the finest minds in the world cannot determine when human life
begins but that somehow, each and every woman can.
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #6: Know Your Audience.
Knowing the character of your audience is extremely important,
because your tactics and general emphasis should be tailored to fit the
background of those people you are trying to reach with your message.
You must know what your audience's interests and "hot
buttons" are, and appeal forcefully to them.
For example, if you are debating on a community radio station that
has a generally Neoliberal audience, you will not want to spend a lot of
time quoting Scripture to them. They couldn't care less about what the
Bible has to say. Neoliberals are converted by their concept of
"logic" not preaching. You must play to the self-image the
audience has of itself that of open-minded and fair 'freethinkers.'
You must convince the audience that your opponent is everything he
says that you are: Inconsistent and rigid in philosophy (the two
unforgivable Neoliberal sins). Hammer away mercilessly at your
opponent's obvious inconsistencies: Sex-selection abortions used against
unborn women, the utter pro-abortion lack of respect for the law,
and all of the many other contradictions of his indefensible position.
If you are speaking before a live audience, make sure that you have a
generous question/answer session at the end of the panel or debate.
There is nothing more advantageous to the pro-life position than
answering a barrage of hostile questions calmly, logically, and
It may also help to have a few pro-lifers planted in the audience for
the purpose of asking you questions that appear to be hostile, but are
really preplanned "puffballs" that address the most basic
points of the pro-abortion position. For example, if the subject has not
been covered (which is unlikely in any case), have a pro-life plant ask
you about all those thousands of women who died each year before
abortion was legal.
It is sometimes extremely difficult to make any points before a
hostile audience that has already made up its collective mind.
The pro-life debater may find himself in the middle of what he thinks
is a reasoned statement, and suddenly, there it is the groans, the
shaking heads, the rolling eyes the Pavlovian, knee-jerk,
anti-intellectual reaction so typical of the closed mind. People who
react in this manner have not had enough time to think about what has
been said; they are displaying a conditioned reaction. They have been
trained by society and by their peers to instantly respond in the
politically correct (P.C.) manner.
Such a cause and effect is as simple and unthinking as a starving dog
salivating at the smell and sight of raw meat.
This mindset is obviously very dangerous. People so afflicted can be
immediately seduced and controlled by the popular viewpoint without
really knowing what is happening but they are firmly convinced all the
time that they are correct. They are the foot soldiers of oppression and
they do not even know it. They are effectively shielded from reality by
their thick idea filters.
If you are speaking before Kiwanis or businessmen in the City Club,
you may want to emphasize the deleterious demographic effects of
abortion on their businesses (i.e., less people means less business).
Give them a statistical handout that they can follow while you speak and
take home with them for further study. Use information from Chapter 48
of Volume II, "Demographic Effects of Abortion."
If you are speaking to a church, research the attitudes of the pastor
and his congregation. If you are addressing a missionary church,
emphasize that the ground in front of abortion mills is prime mission
territory, and plead for volunteers, stressing their Biblical duty under
Know your Scripture!
If your audience is from a comfortable church whose members don't
seem to want to get too 'fanatical,' try to get them involved in
activities that are more 'socially acceptable' such as Crisis Pregnancy
Centers, voter's registration, or your speaker's bureau. Once they get
into the pro-life movement, they will gradually see what other 'more
radical' avenues of action are open to them.
If the church seems to be a hopeless case, you might have to settle
for asking for contributions. You may later be able to recruit those who
are interested enough to contribute funds to the pro-life cause.
DEBATE PREPARATION RULE #7: Know the Debating Environment.
The most important part of your debating 'environment' is the
moderator, if there is one. Find out about this person's attitudes and
personality. Is he hostile to pro-lifers? Does he have some pro-abortion
slogan that he insists on repeating over and over, despite the evidence?
If he is really a hard-core abortophile, you will essentially be
debating two people at once. This can be really difficult, but if you
can 'show up' the hostile moderator early or point out how biased and
unfair he is being, you may have a fairer 'trial by fire.' You will also
gain sympathy from the audience if you are outnumbered two-to-one.
It is also a good idea to "case" the area where you will be
debating. Arrive at least a half-hour early. Insure that any required
audio-visual equipment is in place and working. You may want to
use a blackboard. Insure that adequate seating is available. You may be
able to display your literature near the entrance to the room. Have a
helper attend to this material or it will mysteriously 'disappear.'
If you are early enough, take the best chair and get the feel of it.
Arrange your reference materials (if any) so that you have easy access
Prepare yourself, review your opening arguments, sip some water (but
not too much for obvious reasons), and get comfortable.
THE ABOVE RULES APPLY TO DEBATE PREPARATION. THE REST OF THIS
CHAPTER DESCRIBES TACTICS THAT WILL BE USED IN AN ACTUAL DEBATE.
The Four Basic Debating
The abortion debate is unique. On one side is pro-life, which has all
the facts that the public doesn't want to hear. On the other side is
pro-abortion, which has few facts, but soothing words that the public does
want to hear.
This means that the pro-life side has one great advantage and one
great disadvantage in a debating environment: It has the truth, but it
must present this truth in a manner that will convert people and this
process requires a considerable psychological investment on the part of
the audience. Therefore, the pro-life debater must be especially
When speaking about abortion, it is generally advisable to take the
defensive (responsive) position. If you simply speak the truth, it will
not have as great an impact on an audience as having someone else spew
lies and slogans and then having you aggressively debunk them.
There are basically four ways to respond to pro-abortion allegations:
(3) parallelism, and
These methods, and examples of each, are described below.
To refute an argument means to expose it as a lie in the most direct
and aggressive manner possible. This is the simplest and best way to
make points during a debate.
You should have at least one chance to refute during any
pro-life/anti-life debate, and you should seize any opportunities and
make the most of them. To expose a pro-abortion debater as a bare-faced
liar is to destroy his credibility with a large segment of the audience.
Keep in mind, however, that you will never sway the hard-core
pro-abortionists who are listening, because their reasoning processes
have become so ossified.
The classic example of refutation in a pro/anti-abortion debate
revolves around the question of maternal deaths due to illegal
AN EXAMPLE OF REFUTATION
Pro-Abortionist: "We will never go back to the days
when thousands of women were killed every year by back-alley
Pro-Lifer: "Your statement that thousands of women died
of illegal abortions before it was legalized is an outright lie. In
1972, the year before abortion was legalized, the United States
Centers for Disease Control documented less than a hundred deaths
caused by illegal abortions.
"You obviously do not trust the audience to think for
themselves if you have to lie to them."
(While speaking, refer to the tables and graphs in Chapter 59 in
Volume II, "Maternal Deaths Due to Abortion").
Refutation is particularly effective when you can point out to your
audience that your opponent has been caught in this same lie several
times before. This tells listeners that your opponent is not only
dishonest, but hardheaded as well.
In some instances, a pro-abortionist will make a statement that
literally cannot be answered because it is so broad in scope. Your job
is to get him to clarify his statement so that you can make an effective
The replies you can use in virtually any case are "What do you
mean by that?," and "How do you know that (where's your
proof)?" You can use these simple, inoffensive statements to paint
your opponent into a corner in very short order, and to make several
points of your own, as shown below;
EXAMPLES OF CLARIFICATION
Pro-Abortionist: "Well, you anti-choice people are all
just violent fanatics."
Pro-Lifer: "What do you mean by that? Are you
specifically accusing me of doing something illegal?"
Pro-Abortionist: (quick and clumsy back-pedal).
Pro-Lifer (to the audience): "You can see what my
opponent is trying to do here. He is using guilt by association to
paint my entire movement with the same characteristics as a few
people. If I did the same thing to him, he would almost die of
Pro-Abortionist: "You anti-choice fanatics don't care
Pro-Lifer: "What do you mean by that? We have five
times more Crisis Pregnancy Centers helping women than you have
abortion mills aborting them. We provide tens of thousands of women
with food, housing, education, and everything else they need all over
the country. Your abortion clinics don't do that. All they do is
scrape out their uteruses and push them out the door. So what exactly
do you mean when you say that we don't care about women?"
(You may also want to challenge the audience to try calling up a
local abortion mill and ask them if they would help with groceries,
education or housing, and see what the result is).
Since the pro-abortion debater starts out his line of reasoning with
an obviously false statement, you should be able to make him look
foolish by simply demanding proof. The words "How do you know
that?" are all that you need. Your opponent will be forced to try
and change the subject, or lay a smoke screen in the hope that the
audience will forget his original silly statement.
Don't let your opponent get away keep after him!
This is the most common tactic used by pro-life debaters to expose
the basically illogical nature of pro-abortion allegations. It is a
technique of 'verbal karate:' It will turn your opponent's arguments
Only the logic of a good argument will stand the test of being
properly applied to a wide variety of situations. Parallelism consists
of simply applying your opponent's reasoning to a similar situation in a
different context, and showing how illogical his reasoning really is.
Parallelism can also be used to illustrate your point to the
audience, just as Jesus used parables to teach His followers.
You must remember that the pro-abortion debater is well-schooled in
the technique of using Newspeak. Your opponent has no real facts to back
him up, so he will use 'feel-good' words and slick-sounding slogans that
will sound very good to the audience if you do not challenge them. Your
opponent will make an appeal with such all-American concepts as freedom,
'choice,' and autonomy. Your job is to show that these allegations do
not stand on their own merits.
AN EXAMPLE OF PARALLELISM
Pro-Abortionist: "But abortion is perfectly legal. That
means that you have no right to tamper with it!"
Pro-Lifer: "You are saying that whatever is legal is
ethical and moral. This means that you must approve of the slaughter
of the Jews during World War II. The Bundestag [German Parliament]
declared that genocide to be 'perfectly legal.' This means that you
are pro-Apartheid. The South African government declared it to be
'perfectly legal.' This means that you disapprove of homosexual
behavior, since the specific protection of sodomy has been declared
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its recent Hardwick decision.
I had no idea you were such a reactionary!"
Your opponent will inevitably focus on the 'hard cases' which are
most favorable to the pro-abortion side. When you 'extrapolate,' you are
merely extending their argument to include the actual current or
The basic idea here is to trap your opponent into 'drawing the line.'
This is known as 'the argument of the beard.'
At what point do they approve of abortion? For rape? At 18 weeks? At
six months? This tactic gives you a great opportunity to explain to the
audience that abortion is legal throughout pregnancy, and for any
Your anti-life opponent will inevitably be totally committed to
abortion rights and will be forced to either defend convenience
abortions and late abortions, or once again try to escape by 'blowing
Once again, don't let him get away! Press your advantage!
EXAMPLES OF EXTRAPOLATION
Pro-Abortionist: "What about rape and incest?"
Pro-Lifer: "Okay. Rape and incest. But are you willing
to say that you would allow abortion just for rape and incest, which
account for only one percent of all abortions in this country? How
about if the woman is too young? Too old? Has too many kids? What if
her birth control failed? Or if she just doesn't want another
out-of-wedlock child? How about if the baby is the wrong sex? By the
way, do you approve of sex-selection abortions? Isn't it true that you
are really for abortion on demand, for any and all reasons, no matter
Pro-Abortionist: "We demand the right to choose!"
Pro-Lifer: "Ahhhh, that sounds very patriotic. Who
could be against the "right to choose?"
We are now using that same logic to kill crippled newborns. We are
using it to kill sick adults. If we emphasize total personal freedom, we
are basically talking about anarchy. So rapists should have the Right to
Choose rape. Clinic bombers should have the Right to Choose trashing
clinics. 'Homophobes' should have the Right to Choose beating up sex
perverts. What you are doing is illegitimately equating 'choice' to
'ethical behavior.' "
Specific Debating Tactics.
Most debate tactics spring from the above general strategies. Below
are listed the specific ways that you can build an effective base for
debating under literally any situation.
DEBATE TACTIC #1: Begin and Conclude Sharply.
Beginning the Debate.
You can seize the initiative and keep it by beginning the debate on
the right foot. In many cases, the moderator will allow each debater one
or two minutes to present an opening statement. You should have an
opening statement rehearsed and ready to go the day before the debate.
It should include the following three points, sharply and succinctly
stated. Each point should be covered in twenty seconds, for a total time
of one minute.
(1) Briefly outline the character and objectives of your
organization, i.e., "I represent Advocates for Life Ministries,
which has saved hundreds of babies and mothers from the horrors of
abortion through rescue missions, sidewalk counseling, and direct aid
to women with an unplanned pregnancy."
(2) State the two or three specific points you want to make in this
debate, i.e., "I would like to emphasize three points during this
debate: (1) that abortion is generally bad for women, (2) that
pro-abortionists rush her into the procedure without allowing her time
to think and without giving her the facts, and (3) that abortion is
more an advance of men's rights than women's rights, and is
tailor-made to relieve exploitative men of any responsibility for
their sexual acts."
(3) Outline the general weaknesses of your opponent's pro-abortion
position; "I would like you to notice, throughout this debate,
that I am giving you hard facts, numbers, and quotes with references
while my opponent will be relying exclusively on opinions, feelings
and meaningless, 'feel-good' slogans." Be certain to bring up
this last point again and again during the debate when appropriate.
Concluding the Debate.
Before you even walk into the studio, your conclusion should be
planned down to the last word. Your conclusion will be the last part of
the debate and the first part remembered by listeners, especially if it
is executed sharply and concisely. You should emphasize three points,
once again in about one minute;
(1) Repeat your two or three most important points (the same ones
you emphasized in your opening statement);
(2) Summarize and emphasize your opponent's single grossest error
during the debate and tie it in to their philosophy; and
(3) State as a fact that your opponent has not
effectively presented his case.
DEBATE TACTIC #2: Assume Control.
Control: The Anti-Life Religion.
The entire anti-life mentality is constructed around a philosophy
that is expressed by the words "control,"
"struggle," and "empowerment." The theme of
"control" is also often reflected in Neofeminist books with
comical names like Seizing Our Bodies and The Sexual Politics
The anti-life person wants and needs to control (destroy)
their own fertility, to control when and where they die, and rejects
religion as being "oppressive, controlling, and judgmental."
The anti-life person must be free of any and all restraints. This is an
integral and necessary part of the anti-life personality described in
To be deprived of choices is to be out of control, and being
out of control is anathema to the anti-life activist. When a pro-lifer
assumes command of the debate early, his opponent will usually begin to
get flustered, will get his facts confused, and will begin to make more
and more radical statements. If the pro-lifer can apply steady and
unflinching pressure, it is not at all uncommon for an anti-life debater
to begin to scream slogans or even abandon the debate altogether.
If this happens, of course, the pro-lifer has won the debate.
Assume Control: The Earlier, the Better!
In many cases, it will be possible to assume control of the debate
before it even begins. If the pro-lifer can identify and pressure his
opponent before the debate by displaying the strength of his
position or by remarking upon some recent pro-life victory or typical
anti-life blunder, he can begin to derail his opponent's train of
thought and get a 'jump' on him before ever facing him in formal debate.
It is also important to gain immediate momentum in the debate with a
strong and clear opening statement (see Debate Rule #1).
It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to control a debate is
to talk more than one's opponent. This can be accomplished by using one
or more of several different tactics.
One way is to structure statements or replies and preface them with a
phrase like "I'd like to make three points here." The
pro-lifer may then number the points and, speaking at a relatively quick
pace, get a lot of information across to the audience. Any interruption
by the anti-life opponent or by the moderator will appear to be rude.
If the anti-lifer employs this tactic, it can be difficult to break
in. However, is it possible to interrupt in a polite manner. For
example, the pro-lifer may say to the moderator, "Excuse me, but my
opponent has just made a misstatement that I would like to
The use of transparencies or other visual aids can also give the
audience the correct impression that you are better prepared than your
opponent. Additionally, placing a pro-life picket sign or fetal model in
plain view of your opponent will distract and fluster him, contributing
to his sense of lack of control.
DEBATE TACTIC #3: Stay On the Subject.
Red Herrings By the Bushel.
Any experienced pro-life debater will tell you that the single most
aggravating characteristic of anti-lifers is their apparent total
inability to STAY ON THE SUBJECT AT HAND.
This is the notorious "WHAT ABOUT?" Syndrome:
"What about abused children?"
"What about overpopulation?"
"What about capital punishment?"
"What about nuclear war?"
"What about gay rights?"
"What about animal rights?"
There is a simple reason for this 'red herring' tactic. The anti-life
position is clearly indefensible. An anti-life debater realizes that, if
he can pervert the conversation into a wandering, aimless argument about
other topics, he can neutralize and dilute the inherent superiority and
impact of the pro-life position.
By breaking even, he 'wins.'
Muddying the Waters.
When a pro-lifer broaches a subject that is embarrassing to his
anti-life opponent or hurtful to his cause, he may try desperately to
twist away from the topic with such vague statements as "it
depends" or "that's irrelevant."
Such topics for pro-abortion persons are third-trimester abortions,
sex-selection abortions, forced abortions in China, infanticide, and
state funding of abortions. The anti-lifer would dearly like to avoid
these and similar topics.
Do not be turned away by his disclaimers. You must hang on like a
snapping turtle and not let go "till it thunders." Continue to
demand an answer in very plain terms. If your opponent continues to
evade, simply state as fact that he is in support of the practice
he is trying to avoid discussing, or simply say "I think you've
answered the question for our audience."
Don't Get Led Astray!
DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THESE DIVERSIONARY TRAPS! If you do, the best
you will do is break even. You MUST diligently refocus the debate on the
topic at hand, or you will never have the time to get your critical
points across to your audience.
Since an anti-lifer will inevitably try to lead you down the primrose
path to confusion, you must have in mind some snappy way to bring the
discussion back to the topic at hand. One possibility;
EXAMPLE: REFOCUSING THE DEBATE
Pro-Abortionist: "You people are inconsistent because
you support capital punishment. How can you call yourself 'pro-life'
when you support the killing of born human beings?"
Pro-Lifer: "How is this inconsistent? After all, the
murderer has been found guilty of a heinous crime by a rigorous
examination of the facts by his peers. The unborn baby is innocent,
but has no judge or jury just an executioner!
"By the way, major surveys have shown that so-called
'pro-choice' people favor capital punishment far more often than
pro-life people. I suppose I must concede your consistency, because
you support the killing of both born and preborn people!"
(At this point, refer to Chapter 92 of Volume III, "Capital
Punishment," for pertinent statistics).
"But you must excuse me. I must have wandered into the wrong
studio by mistake. I thought the topic for debate here was
If a pro-life debater insists upon sticking to the subject, his
opponent will fail in his attempt to divert attention from baby-killing.
He or she may then begin to attack the pro-lifer himself, his
organization, or pro-lifers in general (ad hominem attacks). If
the pro-lifer has rescued at an abortion mill, the anti-lifer will call
him lawless. If he has a sheltering home, they will say he is involved
in the brainwashing of women.
Anticipate these knee-jerk, rote attacks.
The anti-lifer will inevitably trot out a long list of complaints
about pro-life activists in general: How we are hypocritical, violent
religious fanatics intent upon foisting our views on others, and on and
The best way to end this prattle quickly is to either point out the
fact that truth has nothing to do with the shortcomings of the person
saying it, or by highlighting the anti-lifer's tactic for the audience,
i.e. "When your opponent attacks you personally, he knows that he
has lost the debate."
DEBATE TACTIC #4: Anticipate.
A pro-life debater has certain important advantages over an
abortophile or a sodomite. It is much easier to anticipate the thought
processes of an anti-life debater than it is to anticipate the thoughts
of a debater that takes any other position, simply because anti-lifers
usually rely very heavily on slogans and questionable claims to support
The pro-lifer must become familiar with these slogans and be able to
refute them by heart in almost a reflexive action. Since an anti-lifer
will inevitably rely upon slogans, the pro-lifer has a golden
opportunity to anticipate and discredit both the slogan and his
opponent. Communist and pro-abortion activists are particularly
susceptible to leaning heavily on slogans. Anticipate them. And when
they occur, take maximum advantage of them.
The pro-lifer can sharpen his ability to anticipate his opponent's
course of debate by researching both his background and his
organization's attitudes and background (see Preparation Rule #4).
The following is a transcript of an exchange that actually occurred
on a Portland, Oregon radio show between a Planned Parenthood
spokesperson and a male pro-life advocate. The debate was only ten
minutes old, but the pro-lifer had already caught the PP debater in two
gross exaggerations, and she was becoming visibly overexcited. Note how
the pro-lifer took full advantage of an empty slogan to assume full
control of the debate.
AN EXAMPLE OF ANTICIPATION AND ASSUMING CONTROL
Pro-Abortionist: "... well, you people are all just
Pro-Lifer: "What exactly do you mean by that? I don't
hate women. Why, I'm married to one and we're both very happy."
Pro-Abortionist: "Well, you just married her to
subjugate her. Marriage is nothing less than an institution used by
our patriarchal society to subjugate women."
Pro-Lifer: "Really? Are you seriously suggesting that
men only marry women to dominate them, subjugate them?"
Pro-Abortionist: "Well, yes, yes, that's just exactly
what I'm saying."
Pro-Lifer: "You married men out there, you remember
what she just said. You just married your wives because you hate them
and want to dominate them. You're all wife-beaters. This is a typical
PLANNED PARENTHOOD attitude. Remember that: PLANNED PARENTHOOD hates
all men and is against marriage."
You can see how the pro-abortion debater lost control of the
situation and thereby alienated a large part of her audience. The above
exchange was immediately followed by a barrage of angry telephone calls
directed at the Planned Parenthood debater condemning her, her
organization, and everything she stood for. The pro-life debater merely
relaxed and watched her fruitless attempts to defend herself and enjoyed
every minute of his opponent's discomfort.
For a detailed examination of the most effective known refutations to
all of the most common anti-life slogans, see Chapter 16.
DEBATE TACTIC #5: Repeat Repeat
Important Important Points Points.
Repetition is one tactic that anti-life people use unconsciously,
simply because their arguments are so scanty in logic and substance.
Since they have so little to go on, they must repeat their slogans over
and over again. Repetition is a very effective tactic that pro-abortion
people use not only in debate, but also in courts of law. They adhere
rigidly to the Shakespearean principle "A lie oft repeated soon
bears the guise of truth."
If a pro-life debater can effectively refute a slogan with cold, hard
facts, his opponent will be faced with a tough decision: Give up
that particular useful slogan and have it exposed as a fraud, or repeat
it and have the pro-life debater sigh and patiently explain once again
the error of the anti-lifer's ways.
On the other hand, repetition is a tactic that the pro-lifer can use
to considerable advantage. The pro-life debater must go into every
debate with two or three essential points that he want to make crystal
clear to his audience. He begins the debate and ends it with these
points, and his entire message should be built around them. He must have
irrefutable documentation at hand in addition to anticipating his
For example, if the debate topic is 'ABORTION: A WOMAN'S RIGHT?,' his
three points, depending upon his audience, might be;
(1) Half of the babies killed by abortion are little preborn women.
This certainly calls into question the pro-abortion facade of 'caring
(2) Abortion on demand has led to 'femicide,' or boys on demand
(sex selection abortions are almost always done on girls), the
ultimate dilemma for Neofeminists.
(3) Abortion actually is used as a weapon against women, allowing
them to become little more than sex objects for men.
The pro-lifer must continue to hammer away at these three points.
After stating his case the first time, he must continue to steer the
conversation back to one or more of these points. As he repeats them, he
should phrase them in a different way each time and try to use catchy
phrases that will stick in his listeners' minds.
DEBATE TACTIC #6: Listen Effectively.
Since debate is a form of communication, it is composed of two
fundamental parts: Talking and listening. Before a person can rebut
effectively and concisely, he must be able to listen effectively.
The main job of a debater is to discern the meaning behind his
opponent's words in order to paint a picture in his own mind of what he
is thinking and what his objective(s) are.
A pro-life debater may wish to restate his opponent's position in his
own words in a manner designed to work to his own advantage. For
example, a pro-lifer might use a careless anti-life statement of
philosophy such as "Yes, I do support abortion on demand" to
steer his hapless opponent into a discussion on sex-selection abortions,
third-trimester abortions, or statements by Planned Parenthood and the
National Organization for Women approving of forced abortions in China
and in the United States.
It is a good idea for a debater to carry a notepad to write down
statements by the opposition that he would like to address later in the
debate. The debater might copy the statement in a shorthand that will
allow him to refer to their opponent's verbatim statement(s) at
opportune times later in the conversation.
DEBATE TACTIC #7: Use Visual Aids.
If a pro-lifer is participating in a panel discussion or a debate on
television or before an audience, pictures and graphs can be a great
asset, especially if his opponent has none. Visual aids confer an
automatic aura of authority on the person using them, particularly if
they are well-prepared.
Photographs and Models.
Talk is cheap, especially in the abortion battle. Visual aids can
really give a debater a 'leg up' in a debate. Pro-life visual aids may
include one of Lennart Nilsson's excellent picture books on fetal
development or a set of fetal models. A real shocker is Human Life
International's ghastly "FREEDOM OF CHOICE?" poster that
depicts a seven-month aborted baby's head being lifted out of
formaldehyde with a pair of tweezers.
The pro-lifer may never need to refer to these visual aids. For
example, just placing a twelve-week plastic fetal model on the table in
plain view and forgetting about it will work miracles, even if it is
never mentioned during the discussion. There won't be any need to refer
to it; the anti-life debater or moderator will be transfixed by it and
will refer to it by themselves.
The graphs in this book are purposely drawn in a simple format. Many
of them consist of dark bar charts, designed for maximum visibility. The
bars are clearly visible to an audience from a range of about 20 feet,
and show up very well on television.
A pro-lifer in the middle of a televised debate shouldn't hesitate to
ask the moderator to have the cameraman 'zoom in' on his visual aids.
The moderator will generally welcome any type of activity that lends his
show variety and a change of pace. If he flatly refuses, it will look as
if he is collaborating with the anti-life debater in trying to conceal
some critical fact (by the way, standard studio television cameras can
show the figures in this book quite clearly).
Alternatively, it may be possible to arrange for an overhead or
transparency projector to be available at a debate or panel
presentation. Graphs and tables can be copied right out of a book or
made into transparencies. An overhead projector will make graphs and
tables much more visible.
Virtually any type of visual aid is acceptable. Try a big blow-up
photograph of an unborn baby in utero or a plastic fetal model if
the debate topic is something like "THE UNBORN CHILD." If the
moderator is hostile, conceal the photo or model beforehand and state
that you would like to show it. If the moderator refuses, produce it
anyway. You can use this to your advantage by stating as fact that the
moderator thinks the audience is too stupid or uninformed to understand
the visual aid or too wimpy to handle the truth. Play heavily on the
hypocrisy of the pro-abortionist's reliance on censorship and resistance
to informed consent
If the pro-lifer is crafty, he can actually manipulate the audience
into wanting to see his visual displays. For example, if he is
presenting before a generally Neoliberal high school, he might remark
that his visual aids are too shocking for mere children. He might
say that the teachers are concerned that they might not be mature enough
to see the material, and that those children with weak stomachs should
leave the room.
No high schooler in his or her right mind will leave the room after
such a challenge, and the pro-lifer will have definitely gotten their
A Valuable Tool.
The job of the pro-life debater is to make sure that his audience
remembers his most important points. He can accomplish this by painting
'word pictures' that get his message across in an unforgettable manner.
If a person wants to describe how many babies have died at the hands
of abortionists, the words "30 million" are simply
incomprehensible. Hermann Goebbels was correct when he stated that
"One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are merely a
A pro-life debater might want to try using one or more of the
following examples of 'word imaging' in order to give people some idea
of the magnitude of 30 million deaths.
The Vietnam Memorial Comparison.
The National Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. commemorates the
58,022 American soldiers known to have died in that country. It consists
of a black wall 492 feet long inscribed with the names of these
soldiers. If such a wall were constructed to mourn all of our aborted
babies, it would be forty miles long!
If these 30 million babies were allowed to be born and grew up, then
got together to hold hands, the resulting line would stretch around the
world at the Equator more than 25,000 miles!
A Much Larger 'Quilt Project.'
One publicity stunt that American sodomites are fond of is the
"Quilt Project,' whereby decorated 3 foot by 6 foot rectangles of
cloth are laid side by side to commemorate those people who have died of
AIDS. The purposes of this project are to generate sympathy and show the
magnitude of the AIDS 'epidemic.' The largest such display to date has
covered an area equivalent to a football field.
If 30 million of these quilts were laid down together, one for each
aborted preborn baby, it would cover an area of twenty square miles!
This would easily blanket the center of any large American city.
As another comparison, if a person read the names of the 150,000
people who had died of AIDS eight hours per day, five days per week, he
would be able to complete the task in about five weeks.
If he did this for the preborn babies murdered by abortion in the
United States, he would not be able to finish by the year 2000. He would
not be able to finish by the year 3000. In fact, he would never catch
The 'Marching Aborted.'
Population alarmists sometimes refer to "the marching
Chinese," by which they mean that the population of the People's
Republic of China (PRC) is increasing so fast (15 to 20 million per
year) that the Chinese could march three abreast past a single point and
never have the same person pass twice.
This concept could be adapted to describe the magnitude of our
world's "marching aborted." There are about 55 million
abortions committed all over the world annually. If these children
marched past one point continuously, they would be five abreast.
Rape and Lighting.
About 230 people are struck by lightning in this country every year
(about 100 of these are women). About 285 women get abortions for
rape and incest every year. This means that a woman has three times as
much chance of getting struck by lightning than she has of needing an
abortion for rape or incest.
All of the women obtaining abortions every year in the United States
would fill every seat in every National Football League stadium in the
country. Those women who 'need' abortion for rape and incest could all
stand in one end zone with plenty of room to spare.
Crashing School Buses.
Any community would mourn for weeks if a school bus full of 50 of its
children crashed and burned, killing all inside. By contrast, every hour
the abortion clinics in this country are operating, (say 60 hours per
week), 50 babies are killed every six minutes! A pro-life debater could
also tailor this image to a local abortuary for example, one which
killed 2,500 babies every year would be equivalent to a 50-child school
bus crashing every week.
One attention-getting trick involves getting a map of the United
States and then whiting out or covering over those states whose
population is equivalent to the number of preborn babies killed in this
country since Roe v. Wade.
The 16 states that should be covered are Alaska, Montana, Idaho,
Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New
Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Iowa, whose combined
populations are about 28 million. These states also make up a land area
of two million square miles, or 54 percent of the entire area of the
If a pro-abort points out that this is not particularly impressive
since these states are the most sparsely-populated in the Union, the
pro-lifer could reply by taking a big red magic marker and drawing a big
X over New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, whose combined
populations are about 30 million.
DEBATE TACTIC #8: Don't Argue.
A heated argument is a real spectacle and can only hurt the pro-life
cause. As a result of such an exchange, anti-lifers are merely hardened
in their resolve that pro-lifers are fanatics, and pro-life sympathizers
are turned off by the shouting.
Don't get ensnared in a shouting match. Your anti-life opponent will
frequently try to lure you into such an argument when they have their
backs to the wall, because they know that the memory of the argument
will erase the memory of how badly you trounced them in the debate.
You can use your opponent's inflammatory statements to your advantage
by acknowledging their good points and accentuating their bad points.
EXAMPLE: DEFUSING A USELESS ARGUMENT
Anti-Life Bait: "You anti-choice people don't even care about
the pregnant twelve-year old rape victim who can't talk to her
parents. What about her? Her situation is impossible. Don't her
Argumentative Answer: "Yes we do care about her, but the baby
she's carrying is important too. What you're advocating is killing the
baby to solve the twelve-year old's problem. You're advocating murder
as a quick fix to a social problem" (Argument continues regarding
the definition of the word "murder").
Argument-Defusing Answer: "You're absolutely right when you
say she has a very difficult problem. Anyone who has any feelings
would try to help her solve them. That's why we have more than two
thousand crisis pregnancy centers in every major city all over the
country that will give her whatever she needs: clothing, food, money,
housing, and emotional support. You know, it's strange that you
pro-abortion people don't run a single crisis pregnancy center."
AT ALL TIMES: Be an Eternal Student.
Nobody will ever be the best debater they can be. No matter
how experienced you are, you will always find that you are learning new
facts about the life issues and new and more effective debate 'tricks'
that seem to work best in various specific situations.
Keep a debate log. Write down the lessons you have learned while they
are still fresh in your mind: Your opponent's strengths and weaknesses,
your mistakes, and the most common questions asked by the moderator or
Don't become discouraged after your first few debates. Almost
everyone gets verbally 'beat up' their first few times out. The hallmark
of a real activist is the ability to learn from past mistakes and keep
Above all, make the 'eternal student' part of your persona. The
battle between anti-life and pro-life forces is neverending and is
constantly changing. The person who thinks he knows it all has begun the
process of decline. This person's attitudes harden, and he rapidly
becomes obsolete as an effective debater in the vast universe of the
As long as you are willing to learn, you will remain effective.
Final Words (and Letters) of Wisdom.
In many respects, debating is the same as any other planned activity.
And three basic principles apply to all planned activity, no
matter what its nature. These principles can be remembered most easily
AMOS Assumptions are the Mother Of All Screwups;
KISS Keep It Simple, Stupid; and
PPPPPPP Proper Prior Planning Prevents Putrid Poor Performance.
References: Debate Tactics.
 Plato, quoted in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, October
1986, page 25.
 Warren Hern, M.D. Abortion Practice. Philadelphia: J.B.
Lippincott Company, 1984. Pages 317 and 325.
 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel. "When Passion is
Dangerous." Parade Magazine, April 19, 1992, page 21.
 Quote from Jonathon Green. The Cynic's Lexicon. New York:
St. Martin's Press. 1984, 220 pages.
 Looseleaf booklet entitled "Organizing for Action."
Prepared by Vicki Z. Kaplan for the National Abortion Rights Action
League, 250 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. 51 pages, 1974.
 "Feminists Tell Off Supreme Court: "We'll Never Go
Back!"" Freedom Socialist ("The Voice of
Revolutionary Feminism"), February-April 1990, pages 10 and 11.
 A.S.K. "Life Cannot, and Should Not, Always Be
Preserved!" Revolutionary Worker ("Voice of the
Revolutionary Communist Party of the United States"), December 9,
1990, pages 8 to 11.
 Ms. Magazine "Special Report," April 1989, page
 "The Prince of Hacks." National Review, July 31,
1987, page 15.
 "AFA Sues General Counsel." The Wanderer,
December 6, 1990, page 2.
 The Revolutionary Communist Party's Revolutionary Worker,
October 30, 1989, page 13.
 "Why Three Abortionists Quit: Picketing, Conscience, Old
Age." ALL News, February 16, 1987, page 7..
 Faye Wattleton. "Reproductive Rights are Fundamental
Rights." The Humanist, January/February 1991, page 21.
 Full-page Planned Parenthood propaganda advertisement on page
A28 of the April 27, 1981 Washington Post.
 Garrett Hardin, professor of biology at the University of
California at Santa Barbara, Redbook Magazine, May 1967. Also quoted on
page 101 of Ruth Barnett. They Weep On My Doorstep. Beaverton,
Oregon: Halo Publishers, 1969.
 Warren Hern, M.D. Abortion Practice. New York: J.B.
Lippincott Company, 1984. Pages 14 and 46.
 National Geographic Society. Nature On the Rampage. 1986,
200 pages. Special Publications Division, National Geographic Society,
Washington, D.C. Page 130 of this publication notes that 1,154 persons
were killed by lightning during the 15-year period 1970 to 1984. The
chances of being killed when struck are about one in three, resulting in
an average number of 230 persons being struck by lightning every year.
Further Reading: Debate Tactics.
Randy Alcorn. Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments.
Multnomah Press, 10209 SE Division Street, Portland, Oregon 97226. 1992,
300 pages. A truly excellent book that covers all of the salient points
of rebuttal to 39 standard pro-abort slogans. There are five parts to
the book, by clusters of slogans: Arguments concerning life, humanity,
and personhood; arguments concerning rights and fairness; arguments
concerning social issues; arguments concerning health and safety;
arguments concerning the "hard cases;" and arguments against
the character of prolifers.
John Ankerberg and John Weldon. When Does Life Begin?: And 39
Other Tough Questions About Abortion.
Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, 1989, 252
pages. This book is one of the best primers the pro-life movement has,
because it contains everything that a new activist needs to know. It has
four logically laid-out sections: (1) the basic question on when human
life begins; (2) answering pro-abort slogans; (3) a Biblical and
theological analysis of abortion, and (4) what Christians and churches
can do to stop the American Holocaust.
Baruch Brody. Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life: A
Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. 1975, 162 pages. Mr. Brody was a pro-abortion activist who
began this book with the twin objectives of examining both pro-life and
pro-choice slogans for logic and valid assumptions. By the time Mr.
Brody had finished his book, he was pro-life. This should tell you
something. An excellent book for anyone who wants to be able to refute
pro-abortion slogans and catchwords effectively. The book is old but
still perfectly applicable, and demonstrates that the mindless anti-life
trivia never changes.
Suzette Hadin Elgin. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense.
Order from Barnes & Noble Bookstores, 126 Fifth Avenue,
Department V175, New York, New York 10011. 1985, 310 pages. The eight
types of verbal attacks and how to counter them, the four principles of
verbal self-defense, the five personalities, defense strategies, and
body language and voice control.
Greenhaven Press. Abortion: Opposing Viewpoints.
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San
Diego, California 92128-9009. 1986, 214 pages. Reviewed by John P.
Murray on page 11 of the November 6, 1986 National Right to Life News.
Very readable collection of essays on the fundamental issues surrounding
abortion. Excellent for preparation by pro-life debaters. The questions
asked are: "When Does Life Begin?;" Should Abortion Remain a
Personal Choice?;" "Is Abortion Immoral?;" "Can
Abortion Be Justified?;" "Should Abortion Remain Legal?:"
and "Are Extremist Tactics Justified in the Abortion Debate?"
Authors include Joe Scheidler, Kristin Luker, Cardinal John O'Connor,
and Melinda Delahoyde. A catalog is available from the above address and
can be obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.
Greenhaven Press. Biomedical Ethics: Opposing Viewpoints.
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San
Diego, California 92128-9009. 1987, 216 pages. Each section includes
several essays by leading authorities on both sides of each issue. The
questions asked are: "Is Genetic Engineering Ethical?;"
"Are Organ Transplants Ethical?;" "Should Limits Be
Placed On Reproductive Technology?;" "Should Animals Be Used
in Scientific Research?;" and "What Ethical Standards Should
Guide the Health Care System?" Authors include Tibor R. Macan,
Malcolm Muggeridge, and the Ethics Committee of the American Fertility
Society. A catalog is available from the above address and can be
obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.
Greenhaven Press. Human Sexuality: Opposing Viewpoints.
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San
Diego, California 92128-9009. 1989, 440 pages. This series consists of a
basic volume followed by annual updates by the same name. The main
arguments for and against each idea are written by the leading activists
in each field. Topics covered include contraceptives (the birth control
pill and condoms are emphasized), AIDS, homosexuality, and abortion.
This topic is covered by a series of books, beginning with a basic set
of essays entitled Sources and continuing with an additional and
updated annual series of essays. A catalog is available from the above
address and can be obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.
Greenhaven Press. Sexual Values: Opposing Viewpoints.
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San
Diego, California 92128-9009. 1983, 155 pages. Each section includes
several essays by leading authorities on both sides of each issue. The
questions asked are: "Is Nonmarital Sex Acceptable?;"
"Does Sex Education Belong in Schools?;" "Is
Homosexuality Acceptable?;" "Is Pornography Harmful?;"
and "Should Prostitution Be a Crime?" Authors include Jeremiah
A. Denton, Jr., Susan Brownmiller, Gail Sheehy, and Phyllis Schlafly. A
catalog is available from the above address and can be obtained by
calling 1-(800) 231-5163.
Greenhaven Press. Teenage Sexuality: Opposing Viewpoints.
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San
Diego, California 92128-9009. 1988, 215 pages. Each section includes
several essays by leading authorities on both sides of each issue. The
questions asked are: "What Affects Teenagers' Attitudes Towards
Sex?;" "What Kind of Sex Education Is Appropriate for
Teenagers?;" "Are School-Based Health Clinics
Beneficial?;" "How Can the Teenage Pregnancy Problem Be
Solved?;" and "Should Teenagers Make Their Own Sexual
Decisions?" Authors include Charles Krauthammer, Allan C. Carlson,
and Sol Gordon. A catalog is available from the above address and can be
obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.
Peter Kreeft. The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the
Issues Surrounding Abortion.
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia
24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. Reviewed by Richard Doerflinger on
page 5 of the November 24, 1983 issue of National Right to Life News.
This book shows that all arguments for and against abortion are reduced
to one primary position: that the unborn are or are not persons. It is
also a valuable debating tool in that it shows pro-lifers how to master
the Socratic method of clarifying issues and their underlying themes
through logic and directed questioning.
National Abortion Rights Action League. Legal Abortion: A
Speaker's and Debater's Notebook.
71 pages, June 1978. Pro-abortion organizations are listed on pages
50 and 51. Superb insight into the anti-life mentality and how it
shrinks from reality by using propaganda, Newspeak, and profuse slogans.
Stephen Schwarz. The Moral Question of Abortion.
Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1990. Reviewed by Dr. William A.
Marra on page 53 of the Winter 1991 ALL About Issues. A searching
examination of the slogans posed by the pro-abortion movement. Highly
recommended for debaters.
© American Life League BBS
This is a chapter of the Pro-Life
Activist's Encyclopedia, published by American Life League.