Human life absolutism

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Human life absolutism (HLA) is a pseudoposition which argues that the continuation of any individual life takes precedence over any other concerns, including the individual's quality of life, the quality-of-life of others, or nonhuman lives.

HLA is most often referred to by the misleading terms "pro-lifeA" and the "right to lifeA", but is more accurately described as "forced birthA" advocacy.

The basic HLA stance is that any action which results in deliberately ending a human life is wrong, regardless of the reason, and should be illegal in most if not all cases. Individuals who hold these views may allow exceptions in some cases, but the default is a presumption that death is always wrongful.

HLA is a pseudoposition rather than a genuine philosophical position because people who hold this are often opposed to measures which would save lives, or would reduce the number of lives deliberately ended for various reasons.

Despite the implicit claim of a stance based entirely on unconditional support for human life, the policies they actually advocate tend primarily to maximize reproduction – specifically births, live or otherwise – often at the expense of other lives, without regard to what happens to those lives, and assigning blame to others in cases where those lives must be ended by abortion. They also seem to heavily prioritize unborn lives over other lives.

This has the effect of prioritizing quantity of life over quality of life -- an attitude which may be related to some innate difference in where individual humans fall on the r/K selection theory continuum. In a world that is already many times overpopulated, this is a problematic goal.

See also: cwre:Misnomers/right to life

Supported Policies

Human life absolutists:

  • tend to adopt a support the troops pseudostance, which is actually advocacy for warfare and therefore increased killing of humans
  • sometimes (but not always) favor capital punishment, despite the obvious contradiction

Opposed Policies

While the primary political goal of human life absolutism is abortion prohibitionism, they typically also oppose human euthanasia and suicide, and work to outlaw them.


Human life absolutists also tend to oppose a wide swath of policies known to save lives and/or reduce deaths:

  • abortion prohibitionism policies, which stand in opposition to a wide swath of policies known to reduce abortions:
    • reduction of unwanted pregnancies:
    • reduction of abortions:
      • better social safety-nets for families with children, making it easier to decide against aborting:
        • affordable and widely-available childcare
        • support for childhood nutrition
        • affordable pediatric care
        • good, well-funded public schools
  • gun control, which would also save many lives every year

As with abortion prohibitionism, the real goal of HLA policies appears to be maximizing human procreation rather than preserving existing life.


  • Human life absolutists tend to be politically conservoid, despite the obvious harm those positions tend to cause.
  • Quiverfull "is a movement among conservative evangelical Protestant Christian couples chiefly in the United States, but with some adherents in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, and elsewhere. Its viewpoint is to eagerly receive children as blessings from God, eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization."

Bumper Stickers

  • "God is pro-life" (seen 2008-10-29 in Durham, NC)
    • If this is true, then why does God allow people to die? Why does God allow the death penalty? (Shouldn't a society which allows the death penalty be subjected to the same kind of divine punishment as one which "tolerates Sodomy"?) Why does God allow wars? I call bullshit. -W.





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