Someone challenged me in a comment on one of my posts as to what the breakdown of libertarians' views on abortion was (the context was USA).

While there are subjective guesses (the comment theorized 50/50 pro/con); I'm uncomfortable making such an assumption without data to back it up.

So, what are US libertarians' views on abortion according to polls/surveys? Do the majority fall in pro-life or minority?

I'm comfortable with any reasonably consistent definition of "libertarians", either small-l political orientation or large-L party, though the former (views/orientation) seems like a more interesting set to research while being harder to define well.

My preference is fore more thought-out and nuanced polls/surveys, e.g. ones allowing shades of gray on the views as opposed to only binary bumper-sticker choice.

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    I expect them to agree that it should not be paid with taxes.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 21, 2017 at 13:33
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    It will be interesting to see what results are there, since there are your old school Libertarians, and then there are the modern uber-conservatives who call themselves Libertarians, mostly because they don't like to pay taxes, but are just fine with government meddling in all kinds of personal affairs, as long as it aligns with their own personal views. Apr 21, 2017 at 13:53
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    @PoloHoleSet Most libertarians do support having a police force and they don't consider it "meddling in ... personal affairs" when the police force prevents murder. Is abortion murder? That's a question that depends on your view of an unborn child, not on your view of the government's role in personal affairs.
    – Readin
    Apr 23, 2017 at 6:20
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    @Readin - most people don't consider abortion to be murder, and there are no biblical, medical, scientific or legal foundations for such a redefinition. I love how you pretend that this doesn't somehow impact a fully grown adult human's body. Apr 24, 2017 at 14:34
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    @user4012 - when they list at least four different polls asking versions of that question, and you choose the only one where a majority says that it is murder, I'd say you perhaps don't understand what the term "100% factually" means. You don't have anything within the last decade and a half to refer to? Apr 24, 2017 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


A survey by PRRI* found that 57% of libertarians oppose making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion. For this survey, they categorized people as libertarian depending on their responses to some early questions. The details of this are on page 32 of the full report.

The text from their executive summary is:

Nearly 6-in-10 (57%, +/- 2.5%) libertarians oppose making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, a proportion identical to the general population. By contrast, strong majorities of Republicans overall (58%), Americans affiliated with the Tea Party (58%), and white evangelical Protestants (68%) favor making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion. (Source)

The full report is available on their website and it includes a methodology appendix. So is the survey instrument itself. The text of the question is:

We would like to get your views on some issues that are being discussed in
the country today. Do you favor or oppose the following ... ?

e. Making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion

Strongly favor



Strongly Oppose


I'm not familiar with PRRI. As with anything on the internet, interpret it with the usual skepticism.

  • "making it more difficult" sounds like it requires government inference; How else can one make it more difficult? I'm surprised that only 57% of libertarians oppose that.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 22, 2017 at 13:57
  • That is not at all implied by the question. A person may read that into the question, but that isn't due to the survey. Apr 22, 2017 at 15:30
  • It might be that 57% of the libetarians read that into the question. As I said: how to make it more difficult other than by government interference? I haven't seen an answer to that question yet.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 22, 2017 at 19:09
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    @Sjoerd Libertarians don't oppose all government action. For example, all but the most extreme libertarians support having a police force whose job includes protecting people from murder, and even protecting children from being murdered by their parents. Whether this includes protecting unborn children from abortion doesn't depend on whether you are libertarian, but whether you consider the unborn child a person.
    – Readin
    Apr 23, 2017 at 6:16

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