1. The debate is about abortion. Nothing else.
The abortion debate is essentially about these two questions:
Does legal abortion unjustly violate the right to life of unborn children?
Is legal abortion necessary to preserve women's freedom and bodily autonomy?
Sometimes we have to bring in ancillary topics (e.g. Did the Catholic Church always condemn abortion? Was abortion always practiced?) But these are not the abortion debate itself.
2. Facts and logic are the only things that matter in an argument.
A certain fact, argument, conclusion or person may make you feel a certain way.
Those feelings are not reaity.
Data, facts and logic is the only substance of and abortion debate because they are the only elements of reality.
3. Intellectual honesty is required.
Your debate must be an actual confrontation of the facts and the logic, rather than the mindless presentation of a series of talking points. You have to concede when your opponent is right, or sometimes admit to lacking information if such is the case.
4. If there's no respect, there's no debate.
When a debater resorts to swears and insults, and makes emotional answers instead of presenting facts and logic, the debate is over.
The discussion isn't about Truth any more.
5. The debate is not about you or your debate opponent .
Your attributes (race, gender, class, religion, etc) and situation (parent, non-parent, student, retired, etc) has no effect on the substance of the debate.
Facts and logic are independent of such characteristics.
Nobody should have to defend themselves, or prove anything about themselves, in order to argue their opinion.
6. Personal stories are not arguments.
Personal Stories can illustrate a point or provide evidence, but in themselves, they can never be an argument because of the partial nature of the revelation. We don't have access to all the facts, so we don't know if that case really illustrates the point being made.
Personal anecdotal evidence can bolster a case.
It cannot make a case.
7. Hypocrisy invalidates nothing.
You can find countless examples of opinions and actions that seemingly contradict the broad ideology of either side of the abortion debate.
Supposedly, this lack of commitment, this arrogance, is proof that the position under examination is wrong, because if it were really true, then people would never betray that principle.
That some people fail to live up to an ideology does not speak to its truth. Failure is part of the human condition.
Facts and logic are the only means of determining the truth, not human response to facts and logic.
8. An exchange of devastating comebacks is no substitute for an abortion debate.
You have all seen the devastating comeback ping-pong game
Someone, usually an witty poster smacks down his opponent with facts and a funny and biting comment about his opponent's personal characteristics, behaviour or life offline.
And the opponent, not one to be smacked down, replies in a similar vein.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat
It makes for entertaining reading, but it has nothing to do with truth.