Confronting Antis Online

2 Nov

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.


4 Responses to “Confronting Antis Online”

  1. Steph L. November 2, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    Great post. I try to not get drawn into online fights but I have a hard time tolerating ignorant anti comments in front of me. I’ve had more youtube and forum arguments than I care to count but I will say I have developed my argument skills at the very least.

    I really hate the “I’m pro-choice except for when it’s used as birth control” line too. If I can ask, what do you think is the best short rebuttal to this? I usually just point out that it would be one heck of an expensive and time consuming regular birth control procedure and hope the fallacy is obvious.

  2. julie November 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    For the most vocal antis, being an anti is so ingrained in their being that it’s part of their identity. They won’t change. They can’t change their views because they would have to change who they are. They will reject any and all facts and logic that contradicts their view no matter what. Their defense mechanism is dogmatic willful ignorance.
    You can lead a man to knowledge but you can’t make him think.
    I do, however, frequently engage with antis online. It’s fun and familiarizes me with anti choice “arguments.”
    I know I won’t convince the person I’m engaging with, but I might lead a fence sitting lurker in the right direction.
    I used to be an anti and a pretty extreme one at that. I was brainwashed into thinking I had to be or I’d suffer forever in hell.
    In the year I spent in Iraq I started to shed my dogma nd question even my most deeply held beliefs. It was then that I observed several exchanges between antis and sane people which lead me to investigate the truth. It wasn’t easy to shed away what had been a part of who I was for so long, but I realized it was time to grow up and get real.
    Here’s to you fense sitters.

  3. Not Guilty November 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Ya shortly after I wrote this post and before it went up, I started getting into it with antis. It’s fun for a short period, then they go an tell me that giving a fetus rights is = to giving blacks rights. That’s when I block them. Or when they send me bible verses to back their points up.

    Julie, I feel like you have far better insight into what it is like to be an anti and can offer far more to convince them why they are wrong, than I do. I just get so exasperated because I’ve always been pro-choice and strive to be logical. When I am confronted with my own logical fallacies, I reconsider my beliefs and fix them.


  1. Tweets that mention new post: Confronting Antis Online #prochoice -- - November 2, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Diana B. and Not Guilty, The Abortion Gang. The Abortion Gang said: new post: Confronting Antis Online #prochoice […]

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