Presenting the pro-life case to libertarians, and the libertarian case to pro-lifers
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About Libertarians for Life

The Libertarian Case Against Abortion

One popular misconception is that libertarianism as a political principle supports choice on abortion. And major elements within the libertarian movement (the Libertarian Party, for example) take abortion-choice stands.

Nonetheless, libertarianism’s basic principle is that each of us has the obligation not to aggress against (violate the rights of) anyone else — for any reason (personal, social, or political), however worthy. That is a clearly pro-life principle.

Recognizing that, and seeing the abortion-choice drift within the libertarian movement, Libertarians for Life was founded in 1976 to show why abortion is a wrong under justice, not a right.

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In Memorial

Doris Gordon, our Founder and Coordinator, was a Jewish atheist.

Our Mission...

We see our mission as presenting the pro-life case to libertarians and the libertarian case to pro-lifers. 

Among supporters of LFL, some of us are members of the Libertarian Party, some are not.  Some are religious, some are not.

Our reasoning is expressly scientific and philosophical rather than either pragmatic or religious, or merely political or emotional.

To explain and defend our case, LFL argues that:

1. Human offspring are human beings, persons from conception, whether that takes place as natural or artificial fertilization, by cloning, or by any other means.

2. Abortion is homicide — the killing of one person by another.

3. One’s right to control one’s own body does not allow violating the obligation not to aggress. There is never a right to kill an innocent person. Prenatally, we are all innocent persons.

4. A prenatal child has the right to be in the mother’s body. Parents have no right to evict their children from the crib or from the womb and let them die. Instead both parents, the father as well as the mother, owe them support and protection from harm.

5. No government, nor any individual, has a just power to legally “de-person” any one of us, born or preborn.

6. The proper purpose of the law is to side with the innocent, not against them.

In 1976, when she became pro-life, Doris Gordon founded Libertarians for Life “because some libertarian had to blow the whistle.”

 

As libertarians, LFL’s interest in the abortion debate is in everyone’s unalienable rights. LFL’s reasoning is philosophical, not religious. Some LFL associates are religious; others, such as Gordon, are atheists.

LFL focuses mainly on two central points: personhood (what “person” means, and why all preborn children are persons); and parental obligation (how parents incur it). From our answers we conclude that prenatal children have the right to the protection of the law.

We also conclude that abortion-choicers can’t disprove that the preborn are persons. They don’t have a defense for abortion “rights” that even they agree upon. Nor do they have even one argument that holds water.

LFL uses many sources to gather information: libertarian and other publications, conversation, correspondence, etc. It scrutinizes arguments both for and against abortion “rights” to see what merit, if any, they have. It publishes articles explaining why abortion and abandonment are aggression under libertarian principles. Its newsletter, LFL Reports, has been published occasionally since 1981.

Is LFL doing any good? Our articles and letters have appeared in various publications, libertarian, pro-life, etc. We have provided speakers for libertarian and other events. One staunch abortion-choice libertarian was heard to mutter about “creeping Gordonism.” Others call abortion a “hot debate.” LFL intends to keep feeding the flame. Please help.

Libertarians for Life’s positions

Libertarianism affirms the central, inalienable right of all persons to be free from aggression (the initiation of force or fraud). Nonaggression belongs in every code of morality. LFL also affirms that from conception to death, we are persons with the right not to be killed. The killing of an innocent person, as in abortion, violates this right.

LFL further affirms that, under libertarian principles, parents owe their dependent children, born and preborn, care and protection from harm. Even if abortion were merely a case of “abandonment” or eviction, as some wish to rationalize it, it would still be wrongful death.

Dependent children are like “captives” of their parents, for they are in the parents’ control. This is not voluntary for the children, but it is for the parents. Therefore, when parents choose not to provide care and the children get harmed, the parents have initiated force, and they are accountable.

Abortion, then, violates two rights of children: the right not to be killed, and the right to parental care and protection. Even when pregnancy is due to rape, both parents still have the general obligation not to kill or further endanger their innocent preborn child.

 

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