The Pro-Choice Action Network sometimes gets requests from anti-choice groups or from the media to have a debate with anti-choice spokespersons. Along with most other pro-choice groups, we do not engage in debates with the anti-choice -- by which we mean public debates before an audience, or on radio or TV. Here's why:
- The right to abortion is not debatable, because access to legal, safe abortion is a fundamental human right, one that is protected by law and supported by the majority of citizens. The provision of basic human rights is not open to debate.
- Likewise, the right to choose abortion should not be subject to a vote, because access to safe abortion is a fundamental health issue for women. Abortion cannot be legally restricted without substantial harm to women.
- Debating the anti-choice would be an abdication of our responsibility to help women and support abortion providers because the anti-choice position is harmful to women and to providers. Debating the anti-choice would lend legitimacy to this harmful position.
- Debates imply that the participants could be led to a compromise. We will never compromise a woman's right to choose. And we suspect the anti-choice will never compromise their stance against legal abortion. This leaves little justification for a debate.
- Debates imply opposing sides, but anti-choice and pro-choice are not the opposite of each other. The opposite of forced pregnancy is forced abortion. We oppose both.
- Debates are public relations events, usually staged by the anti-choice. Such debates are not designed to change peoples' minds or provide useful information. Truth often becomes a casualty in such debates, because the "winner" is the side with the slickest presentation and fanciest rhetoric.