After absorbing the above debate on the complicated subject, Jordan Bloom concludes:
Abortion is the issue that most complicates Reason’s narrative that libertarianism, defined as social permissiveness and fiscal restraint, is on the rise, for two reasons. One, Americans are not moving towards the pro-choice position with nearly the speed they are on other issues, and there’s considerable evidence they’re moving the opposite way. For another, that definition of libertarianism assumes a neutral deference to science’s ability to define questions like viability, and government’s ability to police them, and that libertarian ideas about non-agression end at the womb.
For many libertarians this is unsatisfying, I’d suggest far more than the one-third that Nick Gillespie throws out for the number that are pro-life. And not just because they have incidental traditionalist views, but because the right to life is integral to their understanding of liberty.
At P.A.U.L.Fest in Tampa last year I watched Walter Block—no natural rights slouch, him—give a speech on his theory of a woman’s right to evict a fetus but not kill it, citing competing rights to autonomy and life. This is an old debate, and Block has been trying to square the circle with his “evictionism” idea for some time, but until the invention of artificial wombs it’s entirely theoretical. In Tampa, he was booed for even explaining it. Urbane libertarians often think of the Paulista contingent as the “swivel-eyed loons” of libertarianism, but the rift is bigger than they admit.
Previous Dish on libertarian trends and abortion here.