Mordan Constitution: pregnancy

Article II-1 paragraph 5 of the draft of the Mordan constitution states:

A pregnant person may at any time terminate its pregnancy, as long as such action does not intentionally terminate the life of the fetus.

The purpose of this clause is to reconcile two conflicting interests: the right of a pregnant person to dispose over its own body and the right of the fetus to live. The clause as proposed does retain the right of person to person to dispose of their own bodies, but denies them the right to kill a fetus without due cause.

This clause has been carefully formulated. It makes an analytic  distinction between (1) terminating a pregnancy and (2) killing a fetus, and implies that (1) does not necessarily involves (2). If it would be technically possible to terminate a pregnancy without killing the fetus, such action would be permissible under Mordan law.

In practice this would require the existence of artificial uteri, a technology not currently available but which might be in the foreseeable future. Even if this technology did not materialize, the proposed clause does not (completely) rule out the termination of pregnancies. The clause only forbids termination of pregnancy if the (sole) intention is to end the life of the fetus. Termination of pregnancy which results in the accidental death of the fetus, would not be affected [1].

Important to note is that the proposed clause does not compel persons to actually raise their children after the pregnancy has been terminated. A fetus could be given up for adoption after it has been removed from its parent’s body.

This clause has been made gender-neutral on purpose. It avoids the question of female-to-male transgenders and males who would became pregnant (with the use of advanced technology).


[1] The expectation is that by the time the Mordan constitution will enter into force, artificial uteri will be available and hence this issue will become moot.


8 thoughts on “Mordan Constitution: pregnancy”

    1. That’s something I’m working on, but at the moment I tend to the following. If the fetus has a serious defect, which would make a meaningful life very unlikely, then termination of fetal life would acceptable.

  1. If and when such tech comes on line the debate will be interesting. “Killing,” though, is not good language, I think. It’s simple semantics, but one cannot “kill” something until that thing can “die,” and our current legal, scientific and medical definition of death clearly states brain death = real death. Therefore, a foetus cannot actually “die” until its brain starts exhibiting sustained EEG, which occurs around week 26. Before that moment there is only potential, and attaching any emotive words (like “killing”) to the growth before this moment will only create unnecessary turbulence.

    1. There many definition of what we mean with “life”, varying from the very biological sense (e.g. bacteria, skin cells) to intellectual/sentient life (animals -from “animus”=”spirit”). Problem is that different definition are used in an intermingled discourse. A fetus has a life in a biological sense, and a potential life in the intellectual sense. Nevertheless, we could rephrase the clause to “repair” this issue, without changing its meaning.

      1. Ah, but even using “life” is fraught with all sorts of problems. Life never emerges in the foetus. Ever. Life started on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. The foetus was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic. It’s for this reason why we must use sustained EEG activity to define the onset of true “human life.” Something, after all, cannot be turned “Off” before it is turned “On.”

          1. That could work. “Terminate the potential for EEG onset.” It’s cold, but it leaves no room for emotionally charged arguments that are simply not based in reality.

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