As a general rule, I am a very confrontational person. I am in law school and hope to be a litigator; I thrive on confrontation. That being said, as another general rule, I refuse to try and ‘change’ the minds of antis on the internet. On Twitter, if an anti engages me, I’ll refute their nonsense, but I almost never engage them. I rarely, if ever, visit their blogs and I absolutely never comment on their blogs. I refuse to engage them. In real life, I’ve organized and been involved in a 3-woman pro-choice counter-protest and I volunteer at my local clinic and from time to time, antagonize the antis. Yet online, I generally keep to the pro-choice world. In my opinion there are only two reasons for me to engage with antis online: to either (i) change their minds, or (ii) piss them off.
In regards to the former, I really fail to see the point; you can’t reason with logical fallacies. Most antis do not think critically about their point of view and thus no amount of logic will change their minds. I believe that it takes a personal epiphany for these people. I despise wasting my breath about as much as I despise logic fallacies, so I don’t bother. I prefer to focus my energies on people I meet out in the real world who are ignorant of the facts (I mean ignorant as simply lacking knowledge; uninformed). I’ve had discussion with some young women I know who spouted standard “I’m pro-choice except for when it’s used as birth control” nonsense. I tell them the reality and how what they are saying is wrong. I then take the opportunity to ask them to justify their views. Usually, inevitably, they fail to do so. I don’t expect them to change their minds in that instant, but I hope to get them thinking. These are the people I want to educate, and that is why I don’t bother with the firm antis.
With respect to the latter, at times I will agree that antagonizing antis is fun. I just think that places like Twitter and the comment section of their blogs are not the right place. I rather do it by posting on my own blog and Abortion Gang, by countering their protests, and by being politically active. I am very high-strung and I get worked up, especially when I’m emotional. I am always worried that I will say something I am going to regret in the heat of the moment, and the last thing I want is to give an anti ammunition against the entire pro-choice cause because I ran my mouth.
I don’t want to challenge antis in their insulated, online world. I rather do it out in the open where they have to face me when they refer to me as a murderer; I want them to confront my humanity with their hate and anger. That isn’t to say they aren’t capable of saying the things they say to my face, but I rather them have to own up to their statements. Especially in Canada, their terrorist tactics do not fly with the public. Online they can hide amongst themselves and never be called to account, but on the streets and sidewalks in front of clinics their hate is in full view of the public, and in Canada, that never goes over well. My city was outraged by the graphic pictures the anti-choice group Show the Truth displayed on city sidewalks; they did not change minds or win the hearts of anybody, and that’s the way I like it. So online, I ignore my enemy and I force them out into the open where they shrivel in the sunlight.
All that being said, I greatly respect the pro-choicers who can successfully engage antis online; somebody has to do it, it just can’t be me.