I refer to the article “Number of abortions in Singapore fell in last six years” by Andrea Ong (13 Nov 2013).
I was very heartened to read about the general decline in total number of abortions in Singapore, especially among teenagers.
The report states that around four per cent of women had a change of heart after receiving pre-abortion counselling and chose not to go through with the abortion. Such a figure, no matter how small, represents the many brave decisions that women made to save precious lives.
For this reason alone, it would be beneficial to make it mandatory for every single woman seeking abortion in Singapore to undergo pre-abortion counselling.
Currently, foreigners, rape victims or Singaporeans with three or more children, and those who have not passed the PSLE are excluded from this requirement.
While I applaud our government’s efforts to establish safeguards from those who wish to take advantage of our liberal abortion laws, I hope the Ministry of Health would consider making pre-abortion counselling available to all those presently excluded from the criteria.
Pregnant women seeking an abortion usually face great pressure from external sources, such as socio-economic factors. The decision to keep a child or abort one should never be made lightly, and these vulnerable women deserve the same standard of care, and should be made aware of all the alternatives to abortion.
I strongly support the Ministry of Health’s initiative to review the Termination of Pregnancy Act. A suggestion for the review committee to take into consideration would be to shorten the time limits for abortions as the current cap at 24 weeks is too high.
With increased medical information about foetal responses to pain starting from as early as eight weeks to 13 1/2 weeks gestation at the latest, depending on the development of the foetus’ nervous system, we should consider amending our abortion laws to match the new heights set by our scientific discoveries and medical capabilities.
The law undoubtedly plays a large role in shaping the attitudes, practices and expectations of society. Accordingly, our abortion laws should send a message that couples should not use abortion as a form of birth control. This change will not only encourage the use of responsible contraception but also go towards reducing the high levels of promiscuity among our youth.
An edited version of this article was published in the Straits Times Forum Page (14 November 2013).
- Fetal Pain: The Evidence (www.doctorsonfetalpain.com)
- Fetal Pain Matters a Great Deal (www.lifesitenews.com)
- How to Save a Life: Drop in Number of Abortions in Singapore (singaporeldw.wordpress.com)
- Adopt vs Abort (roberthartfield1.wordpress.com)