Regardless of your position on the abortion debate, we can all agree that progressives have backed themselves into an ideological corner. It is entirely of their own doing. They have lost their collective moral authority on body autonomy. After the U.S. Supreme Court leak of a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, progressives dusted off their “my body, my choice” and “no uterus, no opinion” protest signs. However, these opinions literally contradict their position before Politico published the draft opinion. 

Over the last two years, progressives pushed for explicit and implicit vaccine mandates. From travel restrictions to being denied access to worship, progressives were elated to see individuals denied basic freedoms and body autonomy. They praised the fact that judges would put individuals in prison if they did not get the COVID-19 vaccine. Progressives advanced opinions that suggested the unvaccinated should not be allowed to leave their homes, and if they do go outside, and get COVID, they should not be allowed to get hospital care. To this day, there has been no moral outrage from progressives on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 policy directive that led to nursing home deaths across New York. 

Now when one reads or hears “my body, my choice” from progressives, it is nothing more than a collection of letters that make familiar words—that is, words that have no meaning when spoken by progressives. They have lost what moral authority they had on body autonomy. This is the consequence of their political and bureaucratic-driven COVID-19 policy.   

Whether they are conscious of this fact, one can see the doxxing of justices’ home addresses and the flirtation with assassination as the complete abandonment of moral civility and the adoption of immoral tactics to force their political will. Even ABC News makes a between-the-line comparison of progressive protesters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building and the January 6 chaos. Progressives are no longer interested in discourse. It is all about power and intimidation now.

Logically, it can be nothing else than a struggle to force their political will on others. Sure, there may be those within the progressive movement that remain consistent in their position regarding body autonomy. However, I don’t recall them speaking out against their fellow progressives over the last two years. I remember individuals like Joe Rogan and Bill Maher speaking up for body autonomy, but progressives then exiled them to the political right. Progressives have purged their movement of those who didn’t adopt their contrarian, sophist philosophy which falsely centered them as altruistic, humanity-loving citizens. Thus, it’s statistically unlikely that they have maintained individuals within their ranks that have been philosophically consistent on the matter.

Additionally, the view “no uterus, no opinion” is antiquated rhetoric within the progressive movement. Have they already forgotten that their political hegemony has demanded biological men be seen as women if they wish? Have they forgotten that the physical requirement of having a uterus is no longer necessary for defining a woman under their political movement? If the issue is about women’s rights, then certainly a transwoman has a say in the matter. How quickly the progressive movement cast their principle of inclusion to the wayside when it is no longer politically advantageous for them. Aggression and intimidation are all they have left to get their way.

Progressives have abandoned their moral authority on abortion, and they have also abandoned their political allies. The only thing they have left are fear tactics, intimidation, aggressive rhetoric, and violence. Unfortunately, none of the approaches are helpful in a liberal democracy. So, conservatives and libertarians will have to bootstrap their way to a solution with progressives as a dead weight on their backs to do the topic of personhood and womanhood justice. They will have to carry the debate forward and make sense of this very complex issue at the state level.

We will need to find a pragmatic solution to the issue of abortion and not succumb to the desire to impose a particular moral attitude on the matter via legislation. We must choose discourse—and we must make sure whatever path we take as a state appropriately considers the individual’s interest.    

Joshua Peters is a philosopher and social critic from Raleigh, NC. 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.