“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Talmud)
Recently, there was a series of articles published in the Straits Times in support of shortening the 24-week time limit for legal abortions in Singapore. Under the Termination of Pregnancy Act (Cap. 324), abortion is allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy without any restrictions. This is an invisible tragedy in our modern society where the viable gestational age is getting earlier and earlier and medical technology getting more and more advanced. It is quite common for premature babies born at 23 weeks to survive and grow up healthily, so the fact that late-term abortions at 24-weeks are still allowed should be viewed as nothing less than terrifying.
To give you a more vivid mental picture. By 24-weeks, a baby’s face will now be fully formed with eyelashes, eyebrows and hair. She has distinct fingerprints! She has toenails! She can hiccup! Although she could already hear at week 16, the organs in her ears will develop further at 24 weeks so that she can properly distinguish and recognise sounds like her mother’s heartbeat and her father’s voice. Most significantly, her tiny lungs would have matured so that she can breathe actual air rather than fluid.
How is it possible that Singapore still has a higher abortion time limit than most developed countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland? According to the 2014 Charlotte Lozier Institute report on Gestational Limits on Abortion in the United States Compared to International Norms, Singapore was identified as one of the 7 countries which permits elective abortion past 20 weeks. It is certainly not a mark of distinction to have one of the most permissive abortion laws in the world. It is more a mark of shame.
At the end of the day, as Ms Serrin Foster eloquently describes in the video below, it is possible to be pro-life and a feminist. The two are not, and have never been until recent times, contradictory positions. In fact, being a feminist (which necessitates a basic belief in social justice and non-violence) compels one to take action against the evil of abortion especially when the valuable lives of so many individual women, girls and babies are at stake.
Parsing the 24-week rule for abortions (Prof Tan Seow Hon)
Flawed rationale for 24-week rule on abortions (Darius Lee)
Concept of foetal viability too subjective (Edmund Leong)
Every life is precious (Dr Alan Chin)