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libertarians &

the Consistent Life Ethic

No aggresion. No exceptions.

The Consistent Life Ethic is an ideology that opposes any and all aggressive violence against human beings. As libertarians, we already embrace a similar approach to nonviolence with the Non-Aggression Principle. By our own logic, it is unethical to harm another human being, which is why we stand against violence such as the death penalty, torture, and unjust war. We want to protect the rights of every individual — but are we leaving anyone out?


There are two classes of human beings whose rights are currently unprotected by the Libertarian Party platform: the preborn affected by abortion and the elderly and disabled affected by assisted suicide. We recognize that these issues are highly contentious, but they are both forms of aggressive violence. This is why we must delve 

more deeply into the ethics surrounding them before dismissing either one as merely an issue of bodily rights.


generally oppose

unjust war, torture, and the death penalty...

An individual has the ability to live their life and make choices, and intentionally ending the life of that individual violates their right to exercise sole dominion over their own life. This is the most basic reason why libertarians view aggressive violence as wrong and why they work to prevent it in the public sphere. Libertarians have historically worked to encourage more effective and diplomatic solutions in foreign conflict, and they have been clear that they oppose the death penalty and look towards more restorative forms of justice — which explains their general opposition to the use of torture as well. Libertarians seek to uphold human liberty and rights as much as possible. This is why it is imperative that we constantly self-evaluate and consistently apply our views of nonaggression and restorative justice to all human beings.

free download of our pamphlet

 "libertarians & the consistent life ethic" 

according to principles of non-aggression, libertarians should also oppose abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research...

The foundation of libertarian philosophy and policy is the Non-Aggression Principle: the ethical theory which hold that all human beings have a right to live their lives free from violence and aggression. The only actions which most libertarians see as being wrong and rightful to legislate upon are those which are violent. Abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia all fit the bill for aggressive violence and as such belong squarely in the category of unjust and immoral. 

"...but Why should preborn human beings be considered

individuals under the law?"

At the moment of conception, what is created is an entirely new human being with its own, unique DNA.[1] there is no inherent distinction between “individual” and “human being,” it follows that every human being deserves to be treated as an individual under the law. Differences in level of development, location, or dependency are arbitrary and inconsistent distinctions to make when deciding to limit the right to life of unique individuals. 

"...but Wouldn’t restricting abortion access be a violation of the mother’s self ownership?"

Although the ability to exercise sole dominion and make choices in general is a right, violent choices (like murder and rape) forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose. Elective abortion is another violent choice which forcibly ends the life of the individual in the womb, and so limiting the ability to make this violent choice is not a true interference on self ownership. 


"...but Why should the government get involved?"

If the prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual, then that should include protecting the rights of preborn individuals as well. Abortion currently violates the rights of roughly 3,000 individuals every day in the United States.[2]


"...but shouldn't the elderly & Disabled have the right to die?"

In libertarian theory, it makes sense that there would be a right to die — and even a right to ask someone to help you. However, there is a difference between principle and practice. In practice, it is often difficult to determine whether an individual has fully 

consented or has been coerced. This can be seen in places like Oregon, where “pain” isn’t even listed as one of the top five

primary reasons that assisted suicide is pursued. Instead, “loss of autonomy,” “less able to engage in activities,” and other issues of disability were listed as the top reasons.[3] clear that assisted suicide is the product of a society which devalues the lives of people with disabilities.




[1] Moore, Keith L., T. V. N. Persaud, and Mark G. Torchia. The Developing Human: Clinically-Oriented Embryology. Philadelphia, PA:

    Elsevier, 2016. Print.

[2]”Induced Abortion in the United States.” Guttmacher Institute.

[3]Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, 2013.


libertarians for life

libertarian leaders

talking on

consistent life ethic topics

Ron Paul

Former Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate

"So if you are going to protect liberty, you have to protect the life of the unborn just as well."

Doris Gordon


Libertarians for Life

"I believe that if there is to be any government at all, its primary function is to defend against aggression... Science has demonstrated that we are new ...human beings from fertilization onward. And a realistic philosophy must conclude that we are persons with the right to be free from aggression, the initiation of force, from that time also. I necessarily conclude, therefore, that destruction of the zygote/embryo/fetus is homicide, and doing so deliberately is aggression and violates libertarian principles."

Libertarian Party

Official Platform

“The prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual, including the right to life, liberty and property.” [emphasis added]

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