The basis of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle. Essentially, it is immoral to initiate force against an individual unless in self-defense or the defense of others.
Libertarianism is, quite simply, a strict adherence to what we were all taught as children, “Don’t take what is not yours and don’t hit others.” Libertarians simply extend this rule to everyone and in so doing apply it universally.
For example, if it is immoral for Person A to take from Person B, then it is also immoral for government agents to take from Person A and then “redistribute” it to Person B. The same moral standards are applied regardless if one is a private citizen or an agent of the state. Theft is theft, and aggression against peaceful people, whether done by a person calling himself the IRS or a gang member, is still immoral. Now that we have established what libertarianism is, let us move on to the topic at hand: abortion.
If you visit the Libertarian Party website or even read the comments on libertarian threads, you may be led to believe that the official position for libertarians is to be pro-choice. The previous presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party was openly pro-choice, and the official party platform leaves the issue up to each individual for consideration. The pro-choice crowd argues that it is contradictory to be pro-life while simultaneously claiming to be a libertarian or advocate for small government. It is not only not contradictory, it is the only consistent position for adherents of the non-aggression principle to hold.
If it is immoral to initiate force against a peaceful adult, then it is certainly immoral to initiate force against the most helpless of all: the unborn. For someone to claim they believe in universal morality and the non-aggression principle for all of humanity, they must necessarily extend this morality to all humans. If one does not believe the non-aggression principle to be applicable to the human life inside of a pregnant woman, they are the ones contradicting the basic teachings of libertarianism.
Conservatives who advocate for smaller government are also attacked as contradicting their own principles when they come out as pro-life. The basic argument boils down to this, “the government has no right to tell a woman what to do with her body, and only a supporter of big government would advocate for this sort of intrusion.” Never mind the same people who argue this often see no contradiction in holding the position that taxpayers be looted to pay for abortions and any other “service” these people can think of, let’s address their fundamental argument.
Is it contradictory for a conservative to be pro-life and also advocate for limited government? Not a chance. If you are a conservative or libertarian, you see a limited role for government which includes the protection of life, liberty, and property. Did you catch that first one? That’s right, if government is to exist then one of the few legitimate purposes it has is to protect life. You do not have to advocate for a massive state in order to agree that murder should be illegal, and likewise you do not have to advocate for a massive state in order to agree that abortion should be legally restricted. These prohibitions and/or restrictions are foundational, and do not require a nanny state to implement.
I am a right-leaning conservative/libertarian, and I am also pro-life. There is no contradiction.