Toward a Libertarian Theory of Evictionism


There are not two but rather three views regarding the issue of abortion. The first two, pro life and pro choice, are well known. The present paper is dedicated to an elucidation of the third, evictionism. In this perspective, the pregnant woman is allowed to evict her unwanted fetus, but, if it is viable outside of the womb, she is not legally permitted, also, to put it to death, as would apply to abortion. In other words, abortion combines two very different acts, eviction and murder, and only the former is licit, under libertarian law.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.


  2. 2.

    For an analysis of this issue from that perspective, see Block (1976), Hoppe (1993), Huebert (2010) and Rothbard (1998/1982).

  3. 3.

    That this fealty to private property rights is very narrow and limited is entirely a different and unrelated matter. On this see Beutler (2011), McClarey (2011), Paul (2011) and Williams (2011).

  4. 4.

    We are now operating under very stringent assumptions.

  5. 5.

    A referee of this journal points out that there is a debate over whether or not “humans” and “persons” are synonyms. I regard them as such. But to enter into this debate would take me very far afield of the aims of this paper, so I will not do so.

  6. 6.

    See also DeMarco (2003) and Parish (1996).

  7. 7.

    According to Jewish tradition, however, the fetus is not viable until it graduates from medical school.

  8. 8.

    It is similar to the issue of how far, and in what context, does A’s fist have to be from B’s chin before the latter is justified in taking violent defensive action. Or, to what is the proper age of consent for statutory rape laws. For more on this see Block and Barnett (2008).

  9. 9.

    This statement was once upon a time correct. However, recent changes in the law in North Dakota, Kansas, Arkansas and other states belie that sweeping statement. I thank a referee of this journal for pointing this out to me.

  10. 10.

    My computer program objects to my use of the word “who” in this context. When I substitute “that” for “who” this satisfies the program. However, since I maintain that the fetus is a rights bearing human being, I shall confound my computer. Ha! Take that!

  11. 11.

    This would certainly cover B placing poison in the drink he serves to A.

  12. 12.

    Or in other ways allow his sperm to interact with her egg.

  13. 13.

    For articulation of the evictionist theory see Block and Whitehead (2005); for a critique, see Wisniewski (2011); for a defense of evictionism against this criticism, see Block (2011).

  14. 14.

    It is in this way, and only in this way, that evictionism is tied more to the pro life than to the pro choice side. Otherwise, and in every other way, evictionism is a true compromise between the two of them.


  1. Beutler, B. (2011). Rand Paul: I have less choice in toilets than women have in abortions. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from

  2. Block, W. E. (1976). Defending the undefendable. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute. Retrieved from

  3. Block, W. E. (2011). Response to Wisniewski on abortion, round three. Libertarian papers (Vol. 3, Art. 37). Retrieved from

  4. Block, W. E., & Barnett II, W. (2008). Continuums. Journal Etica e Politica/Ethics & Politics, 1, 151–166. Retrieved June, from

  5. Block, W. E., & Whitehead, R. (2005). Compromising the uncompromisable: A private property rights approach to resolving the abortion controversy. Appalachian Law Review, 4(2), 1–45. Retrieved from

  6. DeMarco, D. (2003). Peter Singer: Architect of the culture of death. Social Justice Review, 94(9–10), 154–157.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Hoppe, H. (1993). The economics and ethics of private property: Studies in political economy and philosophy. Boston: Kluwer.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Huebert, J. (2010). Libertarianism today. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  9. McClarey, D. R. (2011). Rand Paul, abortion and toilets. The American Catholic. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from

  10. Parish, R. (1996). Killing people: Peter Singer on life and death. Agenda, 3(3), 359–366.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Paul, R. (2011). Testimony on feminists’ inconsistency on pro choice. Retrieved from

  12. Rothbard, M. N. (1998/1982). The ethics of liberty. New York: New York University Press. Retrieved from

  13. Singer, P. (1996). Rethinking life and death: The collapse of our traditional ethics. Melbourne: St. Martin’s Griffin.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Williams, M. E. (2011). Rand Paul is pro-choice for toilets: The senator gives a stunning rant against energy efficiency and reproductive choice. Salon. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from

  15. Wisniewski, J. B. (2011). Response to block on abortion, round three. Retrieved from

Download references


I thank Elizabeth Dolan, and several anonymous referees, for greatly improving this paper. Of course, all remaining errors and infelicities are my own responsibility.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Walter E. Block.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Block, W.E. Toward a Libertarian Theory of Evictionism. J Fam Econ Iss 35, 290–294 (2014).

Download citation


  • Abortion
  • Pro life
  • Pro choice
  • Evictionism