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Libertarians for Life
13424 Hathaway Drive
Wheaton MD 20906
Phone: 301/460-4141



On this page:

New! Atheist, Secular, and Pro-Life, by Leslie Fain. Non-religious pro-lifers contend you don't have to believe in God to know the unborn have rights.

I. Libertarians for Life Literature List
II. Letters, Announcements, and Other Comments from LFL
III. Articles from Outside Libertarians for Life

I. Libertarians for Life Literature List
In section I:
About Libertarians for Life   |  LFL's Case Against Abortion — An Overview  |  On Science, Human Embryology, etc.  |  On the Onset of Personhood and Rights  |  The "Hard Cases"   |  On Parental Obligation and Children's Rights  |  On Libertarian Principles and the Proper Role of Government  |  Responses to Abortion Choicers   |  On Related Issues in Ethics, Bioethics, etc.  |  Of Special Interest to Libertarian Party Members  |  Miscellaneous — Other Articles on Abortion, Libertarian Principles, etc. 


About Libertarians for Life
LFL's Case Against Abortion — An Overview
  • Abortion and Rights: Applying Libertarian Principles Correctly - by Doris Gordon (Studies in Pro-Life Feminism, Spring 1995)
         In arguing that abortion should not be legal, pro-lifers generally focus on proving that a human being's life begins at conception. This argument often fails to persuade, because it does not confront the right of the woman to control her own body. Many pro-lifers talk as if they have lost the rights argument — or worse that they can never win it — and they end up painting rights as irrelevant and running away from it...  (More)
  • Introduction - by Doris Gordon (An introduction to LFL and the articles in the special "Abortion and Rights" issue of the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy edited by Doris Gordon and John Walker)
         ...you might be wondering why you ought to spend any effort to examine a libertarian case against abortion. Those of you who disagree with libertarianism may already have lost interest.   Yet it is precisely the reason why many disagree with libertarianism that makes the libertarian case against abortion important....  (More)
On Human Embryology, Science, Technology, etc.
On the Onset of Personhood and Rights
The "Hard Cases"
On Parental Obligation and Children's Rights
On Libertarian Principles and the Proper Role of Government
  • Being Pro-Life Is Necessary to Defend Liberty - by Congressman Ron Paul
         ...Today, we are seeing a piecemeal destruction of individual freedom. And in abortion, the statists have found a most effective method of obliterating freedom: obliterating the individual. Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the "right" of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the "property rights" of slave masters in their slaves...   (More)
  • Libertarianism is Pro-Life: An Introduction - by Bruce Earnhart
         Libertarianism does not seek to embrace matters of the soul. It is unlike religion, secular ethical philosophies, or the beliefs of fraternal orders or civic associations, but it is compatible with them. As a philosophy of liberty, its concern is not with the details of how we should live our daily lives. It is a framework for governing our relations with one another regarding our individual rights. It is simply a prohibition against the initiation of force...  (More)
  • Tax Funding for Slavery? ...Then Why for Abortion? (Detroit News editorial, Feb. 9, 1982)
         ...Since Congress restricted federal funding, there has been virtually no drop-off in the number of abortions obtained. Indeed, with the most permissive abortion law outside of the Communist bloc, the United States has experienced steady increases in the number of abortions performed. Thus, the argument that poor women need subsidies to obtain abortions is a weak one...  (More)
  • Pregnancy Police? — Fetal Rights: Enforceable in Principle: A response to "Fetal Rights: The Implication of a Supposed Ought" by Tibor R. Machan - by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr.
         An argument frequently used to defend keeping abortion legal is that banning abortion will necessarily lead to severe invasions of personal liberty — that there will be, for example, "pregnancy police".  Although superficially appealing, this argument is fatally flawed in numerous particulars...  (More)
  • Is It Just to Impose the Death Penalty? - by Doris Gordon (Letter, The Washington Times, Apr. 28, 1992)
         ...I believe I can resolve the debate on whether punishments like imprisonment and the death penalty violate the unalienable rights to life and liberty...  (More)
  • See also...
  • What Do Abortion Choicers Mean When They Tell Us: "Let's Get the Government Out of Our Lives"?

  • Children's Rights versus Murray Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty

Responses to Abortion Choicers
  • A Libertarian Atheist Answers "Pro-Choice Catholics" - by Doris Gordon
         Many who say they are personally opposed to abortion nonetheless support keeping abortion legal. Such a stance is often taken in the Catholic community, particularly by Catholics in politics. An example is Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Calling herself "pro-choice," she said that as a Catholic...  (More)
    [Download in: Adobe Acrobat PDF format(402KB)]

  • "Personally Opposed" to Abortion? - by John Walker
         People tell us: "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I think it should be legal." ... The usual pro-life response is to argue the substance of abortion.... Such a response can sometimes produce a profitable discussion, but it misses another point: What do people mean when they say they're "personally opposed" but claim there is a "right" to abortion that must be protected by law? ...  (More)
    [Download (as part of "A Libertarian Atheist Answers 'Pro-Choice Catholics' ") in: Adobe Acrobat PDF format(402KB)]

  • The "Right of Abortion": A Dogma in Search of a Rationale - by Dr. Edwin Vieira Jr. (A critique of articles by Walter Block, Tibor Machan, and Murray Rothbard)
         Abortion seriously divides libertarians. This article will examine the arguments of three libertarians who support abortion as a legal right: Walter Block, Tibor Machan, and Murray Rothbard.  None of them advanced a case for this alleged right...  (More)
  • Abortion and Thomson's Violinist: Unplugging a Bad Analogy - by Doris Gordon (Comments on why the prenatal child has the right under individual liberty to be in the mother's womb)
         One of the most influential articles on abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion," written in 1971. Thomson asks the reader "to imagine" that you "wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist" who has a fatal kidney ailment. You find "the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours," making you like a kidney dialysis machine. You were kidnapped, because "you alone have the right blood type to help"...  (More)
  • Why the Statement "A Woman Has the Right to Control Her Own Body" Begs the Basic Question in the Abortion Debate - by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr.
         Some people claim that abortion is legitimate because (i) a woman has a right to control her own reproduction, or (ii) a woman's body is her own property, and is therefore, rightfully subject to her exclusive control. Neither of these claims squarely supports the pro-abortionists...  (More)
  • Children's Rights versus Murray Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty - by John Walker
         You may have read reviews of Murray Rothbard's book The Ethics of Liberty (Humanities Press, 1982). Unfortunately, most of the reviews failed to cover (or barely touched upon) how he handles the questions of abortion and children's rights. And it is on these issues that Dr. Rothbard shows why so many find him exciting and why others find his arguments outside economics to be less than impressive...  (More)
  • An Open Letter to Murray Rothbard - by Doris Gordon (A response to his newsletter's criticism of the Libertarian Party regarding its 1992 Presidential candidate's failure to pay child support)
         Dear Murray:
    In reading some items in the Rothbard-Rockwell Report, I was reminded of differences you and I have had on what you once called "the difficult and vexing problem of children's rights": under libertarian principles, do parents owe their children support and protection from harm? Is this the child's by right? I've said it is; you've said it isn't...  (More)
  • What Do Abortion Choicers Mean When They Tell Us: "Let's Get the Government Out of Our Lives"? - by Doris Gordon
         An argument Libertarians often give me for keeping abortion-choice in the Libertarian Party's platform is, "Let's get the government out of our lives." They think this consistent with principled libertarian opposition to government force. Under abortion choice, they tell me, the government neither forbids nor compels abortion; thus, it is "neutral" on abortion. "I just don't want the government involved," they say...  (More)
  • See also...
  • Pregnancy Police? — Fetal Rights: Enforceable in Principle: A response to "Fetal Rights: The Implication of a Supposed Ought" by Tibor R. Machan

On Related Issues in Ethics, Bioethics, etc.
  • On "Assisted Suicide" - by John Walker
         ...In addressing "assisted suicide," there are two separate areas of discussion. In principle, is there a right to suicide? ... In practice, how do we distinguish between whether a death has been an assisted suicide and whether it has been, instead, killing someone without their assent? ...  (More)
  • On the Abortion Issue, Technology Works Both Ways - by Doris Gordon ("Second Opinion," The Washington Post, Mar. 20, 1985)
         ...What is "a person"? Technology can't give the criteria we need to answer this, but it can give evidence as to whether the preborn fit those criteria. And technology seems to be personalizing them...  (More)
  • On Human Embryo Research - by Doris Gordon (Oral testimony, Human Embryo Research Panel, National Institutes of Health, April 11, 1994)
         ...Abortion raises two critical questions: the moral status of prenatal human beings, and the pregnant woman's right to control her own body. Conceiving children outside their mother's body and storing them frozen has one virtue: these cases give visible evidence that the moral status and the rights of a prenatal child are independent of the mother's status and rights...  (More)
  • On Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research (LFL's statement to the Stem Cell Guidelines panel of the National Institutes of Health, February 2000)
         ...I am going to focus on only four areas that I find particularly disturbing. Regardless of one's position on abortion or embryo research, these aspects of the Draft Guidelines have severe problems even within the context of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) own stated positions.  (More)
  • See also...
  • Is It Just to Impose the Death Penalty?     
Of Special Interest to Libertarian Party Members
  • Hello! - by Doris Gordon (A note to LP members)
         I'm Doris Gordon, Delegate from Maryland. Some of you know me only in connection with Libertarians for Life, but...  (More)
  • The 2000 National LP Convention — A Personal Report - by Doris Gordon
         I've gone to every national LP convention since 1975, except one. My special concern at the 2000 convention was on pro-life and children's rights issues, as it has been at previous conventions....  (More)
  • Abortion, Choice, and the Future of the Libertarian Party - by John Walker
         In discussing abortion and the Libertarian Party, the practical political question for LP members is pretty simple: Do you wish to consign the LP to the periphery of American politics for as long as you have any influence on the party?   (More)
  • An Exchange Between David F. Nolan and Doris Gordon on Abortion and the Libertarian Party Platform
         In July 1995, the LP News carried an article by David Nolan [the LP's founder] on the Declaration of Independence.  Doris Gordon wrote a letter to the editor commenting on points in this article, and sent a copy to Nolan. He sent back a brief reply, which inspired her to send him her recent article, "Abortion and Rights: Applying Libertarian Principles Correctly"...  (More)
    (Together with Nolan's "The Essence of Liberty" and Gordon's "Tracing Changes on Abortion and Children's Rights in the Libertarian Party Platform"

  • Letter to Pro-Life Libertarian Party members * - by Doris Gordon
         ...Currently, if LP legislators would vote consistently with the LP platform, they would vote for the government to use its lethal power to protect abortion and outlaw the defense of the children who are being killed and injured by it. As the Party of Principle, where is the LP's principled reason for this position?  (More)
  • Questions for the Libertarian Party on Abortion
         Should the Libertarian Party Condone or Condemn Abortion? Should the State Permit or Prohibit Abortion? Where Is the Case for Abortion? How Should We Decide When In Doubt?...  (More)
  • Platform Planks and Principles: Where do you stand on abortion? - by John Walker
         ...As it stands, the Platform covers up a crucial conflict on matters of principle among those who say that there is a right to choose abortion.  (More)
  • Abortion Choice: in Harmony or in Conflict with the Rest of the Libertarian Party Platform? - by Doris Gordon (October 1992)
         ...abortion choice is, at the least, inconsistent with the rest of the platform — and further, that when abortion is not the issue, the platform itself advances many of the same principles that lead pro-lifers to maintain that abortion is aggression...  (More)
  • Comments on the LP Platform's Abortion Plank - by Doris Gordon (Regarding Abortion Survivors and Partial-Birth Abortion — Letter, LP News, June 1996, and Internet posting in reply to question from Joe Dehn)
         ...The LP is in effect on record as fully supporting legalized partial birth abortions: The platform gives unconditional support for abortion choice throughout pregnancy...  (More)
  • The LP's "Women's Rights and Abortion" Plank: A 1994 Update — and Maryland and Pennsylvania Libertarian Party Resolutions
         This update comments on revisions to the "Women's Rights and Abortion" plank. Also included are resolutions passed in 1994 by two state Libertarian parties — expressing differences with the national party's support for legal abortion.  (More)
  • LFL Challenges Libertarian Party's "Pro-Choice" Position - by Doris Gordon (National Right to Life News, December 5, 1985)
         ...Libertarians for Life (LFL) made waves at the Libertarian Party's national convention in Phoenix, Arizona, last fall...  (More)
  • LFL Polls 1985 National and Maryland LP Conventions - by John Walker (Free State Libertarian Letter, December 1985)
         ...Libertarians for Life distributed a short poll on abortion and children's rights at the October 26 [1985] convention of the Maryland Libertarian Party.... You might be interested in the results, and in comparing them with responses from the August [1985] national LP convention in Phoenix....  (More)
  • See also...
  • An Open Letter to Murray Rothbard

Miscellaneous — Other Articles on Abortion, Libertarian Principles, etc.
  • When in Doubt... - by Doris Gordon
         A young woman ... asked Planned Parenthood's president, Gloria Feldt, "Is it true that the fetus becomes a human being at the moment of conception?" ...  (More)
    [Download in: Adobe Acrobat PDF format(397KB)]

  • Beneath the Pro-Abortion Logic - by John Walker (from To Rescue the Future, Dave Andrusko, ed., 1983)
         ...Underneath the diversity, there are certain recurrent themes. Time and again, people seem to use similar arguments and show similar perspectives, however different the questions may be.  (More)
  • A Wrong, Not a Right: An Atheist Libertarian Looks at Abortion - by Doris Gordon (Rampart Individualist, Fall 1983; Nomos, Summer 1983; Foretell, 1993)
         ...If it's aggression, it's not libertarian. Libertarian principles are pro-choice — except when there is a victim....  (More)
  • Why Abortion Violates Rights - by Doris Gordon (1993 Convention of the Libertarian Party)
         ...I can think of no better issue than abortion for understanding what libertarian principles are about. Originally, I was an abortion choicer, as are the majority of libertarians...  (More)
  • Abortion, Choice, and Libertarian Principles - by Doris Gordon (at University of Chicago, 1994)
         "Pro-choice" was once a fine libertarian term. Today, it is a code word for abortion until birth. The libertarian meaning of the right to privacy also has been spoiled. The charge against abortion is that it is homicide, the killing of one person by another, and no homicide is a matter of privacy...  (More)
    [Download in: Adobe Acrobat PDF format(103KB) or Microsoft Word File MS Word format(86KB)]
  • Abortion and Libertarianism's First Principles - by Doris Gordon and John Walker
         The essence of libertarianism is not the right to do whatever we choose. Instead, it's the negative right to be free from aggression — the initiation of force or fraud. To be more exact, the essence is the negative obligation not to aggress...  (More)
II. Letters, Announcements, and Other Comments from LFL
III. Articles from Outside Libertarians for Life
It can be difficult to find articles in which pro-lifers make explicitly libertarian arguments or in which libertarians advance explicitly pro-life conclusions. As well, it isn't always easy to find pro-life articles that respond to libertarian concerns and emphasize issues that libertarian pro-lifers find central.

Nonetheless, such articles are out there. We hope to include interesting ones here. If you know of other such articles, please let us know.

This doesn't require that LFL agree with the writers on everything they say, nor the writers with LFL, particularly on issues not covered in the articles. One important thing is that the articles reflect the rights basis on which both libertarianism and the pro-life case ultimately rest — the obligation to refrain from committing aggression.

  • NEW! Atheist, Secular, and Pro-Life
    Leslie Fain writes about atheists who support the right to life for the unborn. Includes quotes from an interview with Doris Gordon.

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Copyright 2003 Libertarians for Life
Logos Courtesy of Lonnie R. Williams

This page was last modified on January 26, 2014.