I would like to note ahead of time that the perspective I’m about present is MY OWN, given that I cannot speak for all Libertarian-minded people nor will I pretend to. The discussion that I will touch on will be brief, but intended to present a case on an important issue that is essential in the debate on individual liberty: the issue of, wait for it, abortion.
I know this is a sensitive topic for a lot of people and isn’t exactly one that is casually discussed at dinner time with the family, but if we are to have a serious discussion on the fate of individual liberty, then this discussion must happen. As for my perspective, I stand on the Pro-Life side of this issue and believe that we must protect the lives of the unborn. But wait, isn’t it a contradiction to be a Libertarian and Pro-Life? Some would say so, but I would go as far as to say that being Pro-Life and Pro-Liberty go hand-in hand. Furthermore, I would argue that abortion violates the Non-Aggression Principle.
The Non-Aggression Principle, an idea central to Libertarian thought, is a moral stance that holds that aggression is inherently illegitimate. This idea, unlike pacifism, makes exception for the use of aggression in the case of self-defense. Aggression comes about when someone wages force upon another without their consent, be it to the person themselves or their property; therefore, given the implications of coercion, Libertarians hold tightly to this ideal. This aggression is not limited to the use of physical violence against Person A and Person B; aggression can be anything that calls for some initiation of force against those that are not given the chance to consent to it or against it. This includes government using the law to confiscate the property of private individuals through taxation and the authorization of drone warfare against others with due process taken out of consideration.
So you may ask “what does this principle have to do with abortion?” Well it has a lot to do with abortion, actually. Like it or not, unborn children are still their own individual beings even if they do rely on their mother for life support throughout the 9-month gestation period. Abortion, the process by which unborn children are terminated and extracted from the womb (in a nutshell, the process of Abortion is actually pretty graphic), is aggression against the unborn. The unborn child, who is conceived into the world without coercing the mother, has force waged upon its very being without consenting to this method of force.
One may contend that the unborn child cannot speak for itself against the abortion, therefore, its humanity is is non-existent and no aggression has actually occurred. I would then like to ask about the random cashier at the local convenience store who is held at gun point during a robbery. Surely, by the presented logic, aggression has not been truly waged since the cashier never spoke out against it to begin with and the robber is innocent of any initiation of aggression. Of course, this is only a scenario but the principle still stands: individuals, rather they can speak out against it or not, ought to be protected under the Non-Aggression Principle because the unwarranted use of force is inherently non-consensual. Silence does not warrant the use of said force.
That being said, I understand the other side of the debate on Abortion and why they would try to justify it on the very same principle, but let us consider this: unborn children have the characteristics of human beings in terms of development and trait. It isn’t like the probability of the unborn person, or fetus, developing into a human being like you and I is uncertain. There is absolution in their humanity. I believe that if we are to truly uphold such a principle in a free society, then we must uphold it universally for all persons, regardless of who they are in stages of life development.
Simply put: without life, there is no liberty.