Must Libertarians Be in Favor of Abortion?

A prominent CDC left libertarian who loves the Covid vaccine but is against state mandates for the vaccine begins his comments with the statement: “I’m libertarian, which means I’m in favor of legal abortion.”

I cannot ignore this remark about abortion.

It does not acknowledge that there are differences of opinion on the subject of abortion among libertarians. It does not acknowledge that “pro-choice” libertarians are primarily to be found among left-libertarians. It does not acknowledge that a great number of libertarians are “pro-life” libertarians. What it does do is much more than imply that libertarians must be in favor of abortion. It states unequivocally that if one is a libertarian, then one is in favor of legal abortion. The converse, of course, is that if one is not in favor of legal abortion, then one is not a libertarian.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The libertarian case against abortion—legal or otherwise—is a simple one. It is similar to the libertarian case against murder, rape, assault, battery, sexual assault, aggravated assault, or kidnapping.

I won’t go into the gory and gruesome details of what happens to a living baby during an abortion. You can read about that here if you can stomach it. There are many pictures of aborted babies online that you can find if you are curious. I will not provide a link to those gruesome photos.

If abortion is anything, it is aggression, force, coercion, and violence against a helpless, vulnerable, innocent, defenseless baby that is only guilty of suddenly waking up in a womb and inconveniencing its mother.

A baby in the womb is not a blob of tissue, not a cluster of cells, and certainly not a parasite that needs to be evicted. Abortion is not a procedure, a treatment, an evacuation, the removal of a fetus, or a defense against an invader. It is the destruction of human life.

Pro-life libertarians like Ron Paul and myself base their statements about abortion on the libertarian non-aggression principle, which I believe is also a biblical principle.

Dr. Paul has said:

The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty.

The lack of respect for life that permits abortion significantly contributes to our violent culture and our careless attitude toward liberty.

I believe beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society.

I have written on more than one occasion that

because the non-aggression axiom is central to libertarianism, and because force is justified only in self-defense, and because it is wrong to threaten or initiate violence against a person or his property, and because killing is the ultimate form of aggression that, to be consistent, libertarians should be opposed to abortion.

You can see all of my articles related to abortion here. Most of them have been published together as Abortion, Republicans, and Libertarians (2020).

To say or imply that to be a libertarian means that one must be in favor of legal abortion is a gross misrepresentation of libertarianism.