Approved abortion clinics
Deliveries in Singapore: 2001 - 2003
MOH replies to questions in Parliament on abortion
The Termination of Pregnancy Act was enacted
in 1974, to provide for the safe termination of
unwanted pregnancies by trained persons in
appropriately equipped facilities.
It is to safeguard the health and well-being
of the woman who has, for various reasons, decided to
terminate her pregnancy. This is intended to ensure
that all children born in Singapore are wanted
children, who will be properly cared for, and will
have opportunities to develop to their full
Tel: (65) 6339 9770
Mon, Wed, Fri,
Sat: 9am - 5pm
Tue, Thu: 9am -
mothers & mothers-to-be
Excerpt of a letter by Julia WONG, Public Affairs Manager, Ministry of
Health, to Forum, The Straits Times dated 16 Nov 2000
"...The rate of teenage abortions in Singapore has remained
relatively stable in the past 10 years. In 1995/1996, the most recent
period for which comparative date was available, the abortion rate among
our teenagers aged 15 - 19 was low, compared to other developed
countries (see chart).
|England & Wales
*Source: Ministry of
"...Nevertheless, we have to contend with the reality that there
will continue to be teenage pregnancies. As such, a structured procedure
is in place to ensure that our teenagers undergo a pre-abortion
counselling session at the School Health Service Counselling Centre,
first with a trained nurse, and then with a family social worker. The
average length of this session is 2½ hours....About 44 per cent of
teenagers attend the sessions with their parents. ...The teenager who
does not go with her parents or whose parents are unaware of the
pregnancy is advised to confide in her parents and the counsellor helps
her to make this decision and to find a way to tell her parents. A
minimum of 48 hours must then elapse before a pregnancy can be
terminated. This is to allow the girls requesting abortions to review
their situation in the light of the information and counselling
"Before abortion was legalised, there were cases of back-street
abortions resulting in infections and deaths. After the introduction of
the TOP Act, the number of deaths due to botched illegal abortions was
reduced drastically. In recent years, no such cases have been reported.
We cannot guarantee that mandating parental consent will not see a
scenario of maternal deaths from botched illegal abortions being
replayed, as the lives of both teenager and unborn baby are endangered.
stems from many problems which, ideally, should be dealt with
sensitively through parental guidance and support. The requirement for
parental consent for abortion alone would not get to the root of the
problem. There could be detrimental consequences for the teenager, both
emotionally and physically, should the parents be unable to provide the
necessary support for their pregnant teenage daughter, or if the family
responds to it in a very negative way."
Public Affairs Manager,
Secretary, Ministry of Health
Those who buy
unregistered medicine - such as abortion pill Mifepristone widely known
as RU 486 - can be prosecuted for importing or procuring medicine
without a proper licence. Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang gave this
warning in a written reply to a parliamentary question filed by
Nominated MP Claire CHIANG, who asked if the government would take
measures to stop the sale of the abortion drug over the Internet.
(Straits Times 14 Nov 2000)
Excerpt of a letter to The Ethics Of Life, The Straits Times dated 5 Nov
"There is obviously an ethical debate when it comes to the issue of
abortion but within the constraints of the law I believe the law should
not be changed.
"I do not feel that the current law in any way provokes or
encourages women to have unsafe sex with the open option of abortion
available legally. Rather, it provides an opportunity for many women to
get on with their lives rather than to deal with the stigma of an
unwanted baby and an extra responsibility that they cannot
Exerpt of a letter to
The Ethics Of Life, The Straits Times dated 5 Nov 2000
"I came from a
convent school and as part of our sex education, we were shown videos
about how an abortion is done. If you have ever seen one, trust me, you
will never forget it. It shows the tiny foetus waving its arms, heart
beating safely in the mother's womb, only to be torn away brutally and
crushed moments later. The foetus tries to escape by avoiding the
instruments of death, to no avail.
"If a woman makes the
decision to sleep with a man, she should be aware of the consequences
and bear the responsibilities. The number of teenage pregnancies is
increasing definitely, but abortion is not going to solve the issue.
Life should be treasured. Abortion is not an opinion of right or wrong.
Like murder, it is a universal wrong as we are not in the position to
take another life."
Excerpt of an article SEX, LIES AND CONSEQUENCES by Irene NG in The
Straits Times of 27 Oct 2000
"...It is no help to tell
girls, as the new school programme does in the CD-Rom: ' Would you buy a
magazine that is dog-eared or one that is new and still in its plastic
wrapper?' Being a virgin is like a brand new magazine that hasn't been
"In fact, it is sick. And it is no help for parents to insist on
their daughters seeking their consent before going for an abortion. Not
when, as is typical in many families, they find it hard even to talk
about sex with their children at home. So they leave it to schools.
"What teenage girls
and boys should be taught, even before they reach the age of sexual
curiosity and puppy love, is that sex comes with responsibility. That
sexual urges will come, and that they are normal. And that you can say
'No'. Not because you don't want to feel like a dog-eared magazine, but
because sex is a precious gift, an intimate union of bodies into one
"And as a precious gift, you only reserve it for the one you are
committed to seriously in a loving relationship. It is too special to be
trivialised. Self-control and discipline are strengths worth
cultivating. I know this sounds old-fashioned, but at least it does not
use the weapon of guilt to beat the girls down to remaining virgins.
"While I am at it, I
hope teenagers are also taught the methods of birth control and on their
options should they get pregnant, including abortion and yes, the
soul-searching and trauma involved..."
Excerpt of a letter to The Straits Times of 23
"...The fact that a teenager may choose "extreme
measures" over seeking her parents' help shows they are unable to
communicate on some of the deepest issues touching their lives. In
allowing abortions to be carried out on teenagers without their parents'
knowledge, they are ultimately being encouraged to continue a life of
deception where their parents are concerned.
"Hence, I do not see
how this can be good for the health or safety of these teenagers in the
long term, regardless of how much counselling they receive before the
abortion... A suggestion here: instead of limiting the consent to
parents, a teenager could also get the consent from a responsible adult
who knows her well, such as a relative or teacher..."
Lucille Frances ONG
Excerpt of a letter by Julia WONG, Public Affairs
Manager, Ministry of Health, to The Straits Times of 21 Oct 2000
"...We understand the concern of the writers and of parents.
However, it has been noted that teenage girls who find themselves
pregnant are usually in a desperate situation and likely to resort to
extreme measures. For those who do not want their parents to know, a
requirement for parental consent could force them to go to unlicensed
practitioners, try potentially dangerous "medicines" purported
to cause abortions or even attempt suicide.
"There are many contributing factors to the problem of teenage
pregnancy. Counselling is therefore a mandatory requirement before
abortions can be carried out. For unmarried girls below 16 years of age
who seek an abortion, they have to undergo a structured abortion
counselling session at the School Health Service conducted by trained
nurses and medical social workers.
counselling aims to educate them on issues, such as responsible love,
sexual behaviour and contraceptive methods, as well as look into
psychosocial reasons which may predispose these girls towards sexual
relationships and advise them on the social support available to prevent
"During such counselling
sessions, other options, such as carrying the foetus to term, are also
discussed. The girls are always encouraged to confide in their parents
and the counsellors help them come to terms with this and find a way to
do so....While we appreciate the concerns of the writers, our concern
has to be the health and safety of these teenagers."
WONG, Public Relations Manager, for Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Excerpt of a letter to The Straits
Times of 20 Oct 2000
"...Courses are conducted for nurses to counsel
patients who request for abortions - and these are trained professionals
doing a specific and objective task. Even so, the courses last two
weeks...If the government wants to reduce the number of teenage
pregnancies, then allowing the sale of RU 486, as in other countries,
may be the answer... "
CHEW Shing Chai
(see also Sex
Education For Schools)
Excerpt of a letter to The Straits Times of 19 Oct 2000
excuse for not changing the Act - that teenagers may turn to unlicensed
abortionists - is weak and unfounded.
"Even if they
believe that every individual has a right to abort an unwanted child,
the least the ministry should do is to keep the parents informed if the
individual is aged below 18 years old.
"What message is the
ministry sending to parents when it says it is our duty to teach
children about sex, but thinks it is unnecessary for us to know when our
children have abortions?"
LOH Kwek Leong
Excerpt of a letter to The Straits Times of 18 Oct 2000
"We are deeply
saddened by the fact that the Health Minister, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, has
decided not to change the Termination of Pregnancy Act, by which a
teenager does not need parental consent to terminate her pregnancy.
"In Singapore, where
teenagers are not allowed to drive, and it is a crime for school
children to smoke in public, we are allowing our children to do
irreparable damage to their bodies, as well as their psyche, by making
abortion so simple and easily available that they do not need to explore
"...When children undergo even minor surgery, an older person has
to sign a consent form. Why, then, in such a dangerous procedure as the
termination of a pregnancy, is a child given the right to make a
decision without consulting her parents?
"We do see the
Minister's fear - that people will go to unlicensed abortionists - but
that can be checked by enforcing strict laws and by teaching children
that they have to take responsibility for their actions."
C Rodricks, Joyful
Parents Service, Family Life Society
1,700 teenage girls here had abortions in 2001, said Mr CHAN
Soo Sen, Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office and MCDS),
on Tuesday. He told about 400 youth workers that they, parents,
and teachers here will be guiding teens on making informed
choices about sex. (Straits
Times 30 May 2002) (H4)
| More than 2000 teenage
girls, some as young as 13, had abortions in 1999. None of
them needed their parents' consent under the law and this law
is not going to change, said Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang
in a written reply on Monday 9 Oct 2000 in response to Nominated
Member of 'Parliament Claire Chiang's request for the
Termination of Pregnancy Act to be amended to require youths
aged 13 to 21 to get their parents' consent for an abortion. He
added that if parental consent was made compulsory, some girls
might even resort to suicide.
1. Turn up at approved clinic or
2. Referred to Ministry of Health
for guidance and counselling if under 16 years old
3. Go for urine test to confirm
4. Go for ultrasound of the
pelvis to determine stage of pregnancy
5. Watch a 12-minute video on
6. Wait 48 hours before having an
abortion (Singapore citizens & permanent residents only)
Non-citizens do not have to wait.
7. Undergo the abortion procedure
S$1,200 Restructured hospitals
S$400 - S$2,000
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London: Vegetarian mothers
are more likely to give birth to girls, according to research that backs
the old wives' tale that what a woman eats can affect the sex of her
The study is believed to be the first to show that cutting out
meat and fish can affect the sex of a baby significantly. The Times
newspaper reported on 6 Aug 2000. Ms Pauline Hudson, a pregnancy expert
at the University of Nottingham, analysed the impact of the growing
number of vegetarian women on the health of newborns. She and
co-researcher Rosemary Buckley found that, while the national average in
Britain was 106 boys born to every 100 girls, for vegetarian mothers,
the ratio was just 85 boys to 100 girls. The survey was based on an
audit of about 6,000 pregnant women in 1998, said The Times.