In religion and ethics, the inviolability of life, or sanctity of life, is a principle of implied protection regarding aspects of sentient life that are said to be holy, sacred, or otherwise of such value that they are not to be violated. This can be applied to both animals and humans or micro-organisms; for instance, in religions that practice Ahimsa, both are seen as holy and worthy of life. The value is inherent: Life is created in the womb (or artificial environment to mimic womb).
The phrase sanctity of life refers to the idea that human life is sacred, holy, and precious. The sanctity of life is inherent as man cannot create life. Therefore, man has no authority to destroy life. It is the only way for humankind to exist. Although the phrase was used primarily in the 19th century in Protestant discourse, since World War II the phrase has been used in Catholic moral theology and, following Roe v. Wade, Evangelical Christian moral rhetoric.
The sanctity of life principle, which is often contrasted with the "quality of life" to some extent, is the basis of all Catholic teaching about the sixth commandment in the Ten Commandments.
In Western thought, sanctity of life is usually applied solely to the human species (anthropocentrism, sometimes called dominionism), in marked contrast to many schools of Eastern philosophy, which often hold that all animal life is sacred-in some cases to such a degree that, for example, practitioners of Jainism carry brushes with which to sweep insects from their path, lest they inadvertently tread upon them.
To expand into other areas of philosophy, ask the following question: "Would you kill Hitler in 1939?". Both possible answers (yes/no) can be seen as contrary to sanctity of life. Answering this question is a clear way to distinguish individuals with a consequentialist or deontological personal sense of morality.