After the lamenting by progressives over the recent Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson decision, and the end of Roe v. Wade, they have only themselves to blame.
For over a decade, the progressive movement failed to codify accessibility to safe, rare, and legal abortion. Instead of strengthening their position and minimizing their reliance on the weak judicial argument that gave us Roe, they touted their belief that Roe was “established law.” Apparently not.
Their reliance on a weak Supreme Court decision and not legislative action by Congress has created unnecessary confusion and restrictions around abortion access in several states.
Progressives knew for years this would happen in conservative leaning states if Roe was ever overturned. They knew trigger laws were in place to take effect the moment Roe was no longer “established law.” However, they did nothing to promote reasonable access to abortion or debate why their view of abortion was permissible.
The reason they did nothing to codify Roe for decades was because it was not a legislative priority. What was their priority? Identity politics.
Progressives in all their cultural bourgeois hubris spent years deconstructing social norms to advance their postmodern relativist ideology. They pretended to be on the “right side of history” while looking down on everyone that disagree with them. To make matters worse, progressives refuse to debate or talk to anyone that made a fair or legitimate counterpoint regarding the moral impermissibility of abortions. They opted to shut down the conversation and ignore their interlocuters by contending “my body, my choice” or “no uterus, no opinion” as sufficient talking points.
However, progressives have delegitimized what moral authority they had concerning abortion. Two progressive movements ultimately undermined their irrational reasons to ignore opposing views about abortion: the totalitarian push for Covid-19 vaccinations and the fetishization of transgenderism.
The moment progressives started adverting rhetoric that denounced bodily autonomy, they lost the right to say, “my body, my choice.” Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This is often considered the “golden rule” by moralists — and for those not interested in moral philosophy it is prima facie a good rule to live by. However, progressives lost sight of the golden rule due to their misguided fear of Covid-19.
While being cautious when it comes to the spread of Covid-19 is appropriate, and getting vaccinated preferable, one should never let fear dictate their moral attitude when it comes to an individual’s bodily autonomy. Unfortunately, that is precisely what progressives did — they committed themselves to fear and lost their capacity to reason. Progressives praised decisions like that of two Ohio judges making Covid-19 vaccinations a condition of probation. They passionately favored vaccinating students when the threat of Covid-19 was negligible for children. Where was the moral attitude defending their bodily autonomy? Nowhere to be found, because their irrational fears were mitigated by depriving others of their bodily autonomy.
If the moral inconsistency around bodily autonomy exhibited by progressives was insufficient to discredit their legitimacy as moral agents in the fight for women’s rights, their fetishization over transgenderism was the nail in the coffin.
Progressives have alienated women over their desire for “inclusive” language. Progressives prefer “birthing person” and “menstruating people” in lieu of having these functions associated with women. In doing so, they transform womanhood from concrete reality to an abstract concept. Here, the word ‘woman’ is whatever the person that identifies as a woman wants it to be.
This has undermined the “no uterus, no opinion” charge insofar as progressives wish to be consistent with their “inclusive” language. If the rhetoric was originally for women, and biological men can now identify as a woman in the form of transwoman, then it is no longer necessary to have a uterus to have an opinion. Accordingly, the fight over concrete issues concerning women’s rights, i.e., the biological condition of being able to have an abortion, was pushed aside in favor of the inclusivity of individuals with no uterus.
Progressives pushing identity politics ultimately alienated women from the pro-choice movement. And because women’s rights were not made a priority by progressives, or at a minimum given appropriate attention as an issue for biological women, they allowed conservatives to set the terms of the debate and influence public opinion as progressives lost moral claims to legitimacy. And all this was of their own doing.
Joshua Peters is a philosopher and social critic from Raleigh. His academic background is in western philosophy, STEM, and financial analysis. Joshua studied at North Carolina State University (BS) and UNC Charlotte (MS). He is a graduate of the E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders.