How to Turn the Tables on Four Pro-Choice Arguments

Imagine you and a good friend decide to play a game of chess. As you sit down, your friend takes your queen off the board and puts it back in the box with no explanation. You say, “Uh, what are you doing?” Your friend replies, completely unironically, “Only I’m allowed to have a queen. You’re playing white, I’m playing black, so you get to go first. It basically evens out.” Inexplicably, he genuinely believes that giving his side of the board an extremely unfair advantage is actually fair, and he has managed to rationalize to himself that it’s fair.

Turn the Tables

How would you convince him that it gives the black side too much advantage? I’d just rotate the board 180 degrees and tell him, “Okay, if you think it’s really fair to both sides that whoever gets to go first doesn’t get a queen, I’ll just play black now. Your move.”

I think of this as forced empathy. In the analogy, your friend isn’t doing a good job of fairly evaluating the relative advantages of going first and having a queen. By turning the tables, you force him to get into your shoes and respond to his own arguments. You could tell him, “Hey, I know it might seem tough to not have a queen, but you get to go first, you get all the initiative, so just make good use of it and you’ll overcome the problem of not having a queen.”

Forcing someone to argue against their own unfair arguments is the most efficient way to help someone to realize that their arguments are actually unfair.

Many, many pro-choice arguments are actually unfair arguments. They’re cheating. They’re giving the pro-choice person an unfair advantage in the conversation. The problem is that oftentimes they don’t know they’re cheating. These arguments are often driven by unfair rhetoric that the pro-choice person has actually bought into.

People become emotionally attached to rhetoric. They hear a vacuous phrase and it just clicks. It feels so right to them. In order for them to change their minds, they need more than just a counter-argument. They need to understand that their rhetoric is empty. The best way to do this is to rotate the table 180 degrees and make them get into your shoes.

Here are four examples of unfair pro-choice rhetoric, and the ways I turn the tables.

COURSE PODCAST CLIP: Episode 2

Every other Wednesday we publish a new episode of the Equipped for Life Podcast, available to everyone who purchases our course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations about Abortion.” Generally, these podcast episodes won’t be available to the general public, but we plan on releasing short clips from the episodes every Thursday, to give you a sense of what these podcasts are like.

In episode two of the Equipped for Life Course Podcast, Tim, Jacob, and I continue our discussion of how to respond when people bite the bullet, but now get into specific examples.

Download Audio MP3 | 00:04:47

In this clip from the full episode, you’ll hear us discuss one of my stories of responding to extreme animal rights activists.

PODCAST: Six Ways I’ve Seen Pro-Choice People Try to Censor Pro-Lifers

Download Audio MP3 | 00:13:14

Censorship is at its strongest when it is hidden in the shadows, so I share six experiences where I have seen attempts to censor pro-life people.

Related Links:

  • Click here to read about how ERI uses graphic abortion images in our brochure and why.
  • Click here to read an incredibly effective and persuasive way to respond to the “you’re a man” objection.
  • Click here to understand why the pro-life movement is not responsible for Robert Lewis Dear’s shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility.

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Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes!

COURSE PODCAST CLIP: Episode 1

Every other Wednesday we publish a new episode of the Equipped for Life Podcast, available to everyone who purchases our course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations about Abortion.” Generally, these podcast episodes won’t be available to the general public, but we plan on releasing short clips from the episodes every Thursday, to give you a sense of what these podcasts are like.

In episode one of the Equipped for Life Course Podcast, Tim, Jacob, and I discuss the things we generally do when people “bite the bullet,” or accept the awful natural conclusion of their argument.

Download Audio MP3 | 00:12:49

In this clip from the full episode, you’ll hear us discuss:

  • Why this topic is especially important for ERI-trained students;
  • How the dialogue atmosphere influences whether or not people will bite the bullet;
  • A summary of Tim’s general responses to people biting the bullet.