Where Libertarians Go Wrong: Abortion

A common misconception that many Americans have regarding libertarianism is that it is an inherently pro-choice movement—pro-choice on economic, foreign, domestic, and social affairs.  Though the divisive issue of abortion is often disputed among Libertarian Party members, it is in no way hypocritical to be a pro-life libertarian, as some suggest.  However, it is hypocritical for a libertarian to profess liberty-oriented ideals while simultaneously denying liberty to the most vulnerable of our nation’s people: our children.

Constitutional rights include all people.

“If abortion is merely about women’s rights, then where were mine?” — Gianna Jessen, survivor of saline abortion attempt

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “equal protections under the law.”  Our very own founding document states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, [and] that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Why, then, is it illegal to take the life of one human, but not one who has simply not yet left the womb?  Does the value of life depend solely on temporary convenience? 

To address and answer these questions, one must first ask themselves:

“When does life begin?”

Contrary to what the pro-abortion movement would like you to think, this is not a subjective question.  This is not a religious question.  This is not a moral question, nor is it a question that is up to interpretation.  This is a solely scientific question.  On all scientific, biological, and objective grounds, human life begins at conception.

The human fetus meets all criteria for the seven characteristics of life: cellular composition, different levels of organization, energy usage, environmental response, growth, reproduction, and adaptation.  Science is clear: the fetus is a living human.  To claim that someone becomes alive only after it has left the womb of the mother is delusional, and it is purely subjective and intellectually dishonest to pick-and-choose when somebody deserves basic human rights.  Libertarians must recognize the rights of all people, for the sake of constitutional and philosophical consistency.

The NAP is violated.

Abortion is the ultimate violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, which is the general moral guideline for libertarian and anarcho-capitalist ideologies alike—the belief that individuals cannot initiate harm or force against another, unless harm is initiated first.  Fetuses in the womb are innocent.  Pro-life libertarianism is most in line with this general rule of thumb.

Some may say that the fetus is violating the NAP by harming the mother, when in over 99% of cases, this is not true.  Abortions that occur due to the mother’s life being in danger accounts for less than .01% of abortions, and even so, a C-section in nearly all cases is a safer alternative.

“As an OB-GYN physician for 31 years, [I have never encountered a] medical situation that requires aborting/killing in the third trimester to ‘save the mother’s life.’  Just deliver the baby by C-section, and the baby has a 95+% chance of survival with readily available NICU care even at 28 weeks.  C-section is a quicker and safer than partial birth abortion for the mother.” — Lawrence K. Koning, MD, FACOG

To say that a fetus is harming the mother is not taking into account that the mother and father both created it.  A pro-choice libertarian essentially asserts that killing a human life somehow does not constitute as harming it.  They fail to acknowledge the bodily autonomy of the innocent, and they fail to acknowledge the responsibility of the mother to care for the innocent life that she has helped create.  How can you punish a child for existing, when it didn’t ask to be conceived?  The parents are responsible for the child’s conception.

If libertarians seek to be consistent, then the NAP should apply to all lives and cases; as should the principle of self-responsibility.

How, then, should libertarians approach this issue?

Pro-life libertarianism is unique in its approach to achieving victory.  The pro-life cause is seen not solely as a legislative movement; rather, it is seen just as much a cultural and societal movement.  We want to not only change the laws to recognize the rights and liberties of all people, but also change the hearts and minds of individuals—especially those of the women who face this heart-wrenching matter.

In a study from the Elliot Institute, 64% of women reported to have felt “pressured” or “coerced” into their abortion.  Women need to be supported, cared for, and know that abortion is not the only option.  Encouraging private donations towards charities like crisis pregnancy centers, women’s health care clinics, and adoption funds is an effective means to promote our movement.

“For too long we have viewed the issue as purely political, but no political victory can change a degraded society.  No Supreme Court ruling by itself can instill a greater respect for life.” — Ron Paul, former U.S. Representative

In order for the libertarian movement to be consistent in its philosophy of liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom, they cannot forget the most vulnerable. We need to unite to defend the liberty of all humans, born and unborn.

4 thoughts on “Where Libertarians Go Wrong: Abortion

  1. What a load of crapola. Lawrence Koning is a fundie bible humper. I sure wouldn’t want him for an OBGYN since the fetus would be his sole concern, and the heck with the woman. There are many pregnancy complications that may require an abortion or a D&E. And this procedure is far safer and less damaging to the woman than slicing and dicing her in a C-section. This Koning fellow is wayyyyyy out of touch with modern medicine

    “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement saying: “Abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not a risk-free life event.”

    Conditions that might lead to ending a pregnancy to save a woman’s life include severe infections, heart failure and severe cases of preeclampsia, a condition in which a woman develops very high blood pressure and is at risk for stroke, says Erika Levi, a obstetrician and gynecologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

    “There are certain cases where ending the pregnancy is the only option, cases where it would be putting the mother’s life at risk to continue the pregnancy,” she says.”
    Re: “On all scientific, biological, and objective grounds, human life begins at conception.”: Nope. There is no scientific consensus as to ‘when’ a fertilized egg is a “human being”.

    Wannabe womb regulators such as yourself have the notion that the nanosecond sperm penetrates egg that POOF! there’s a “human being”. Most undereducated and/or fundie religious folk hold to that notion, even though upwards of 80% of embryos fail to thrive and are simply shed from sexually active women. Others, biologists/embryologists, recognize that within 12 days that the fertilized egg may split to generate one or more embryos, so they view gastrulation as the start of new one or more “human being(s)”. Some scientists view viability of the fetus as the start of a new “human being”, especially at the development of EEG waves at around 25-26 weeks, or at the development of thalamocortex connections at around 29-30 weeks that are required for higher brain functions. Others take the start of a new “human being” as being at birth, with the intake of breath to activate the lungs, changes in the circulatory system and heart, and accompanying changes in other organs.


  2. I am not entirely pro choice. I believe that there needs to be limitations on it, meaning it needs to be done very, very early. I believe that it is wrong to say that someone who used multiple contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and still got pregnant have to go through with it. Unwanted children, especially in teens, can ruin lives, and can often lead to poverty. To me, there needs to be a cutoff point, like when your fetus is no longer just a couple of cells, but something that can clearly be looked at and identified as a human being, you can’t have an abortion. If your contraceptive methods fail, act quickly before that small life becomes a human life.


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