Abortion in Singapore is legal. But what are the requirements, costs and procedures available?
Getting an abortion may be the last option to some, but there are women out there who see it as the only way out of an unwanted pregnancy.
There are many reasons why a woman would choose to terminate her pregnancy by opting for an abortion, according to some research, which are:
a) Financial instability
b) Relationship problems
c) Unwillingness to be a single mother
d) Negative impact on the mother's life
e) Problems with the health of the foetus
f) Husband or partner or parents want her to have an abortion
But whatever her reasons are, it is not an easy decision to make.
Although getting an abortion in Singapore is legal, it is only available on request during the first 24 weeks of gestation (first six months) unless the procedure is necessary to save the life or to prevent permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.
In 2012, The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) recorded 10,624 abortions carried out here, 6,431 of which were Singaporeans.
Eligibility for abortion
Abortion is restricted to citizens of Singapore, wives of Singapore citizens and women that have resided in Singapore for a minimum duration of four months.
According to the Singapore Abortion Act law there is no defined age limit for the abortion procedure, nor is there a legal requirement for parental consent for minors under the age of 21.
In other words, just about anyone may request for an abortion, as long as they are of sound mind and body and understand the risks and details of the procedure.
An abortion in Singapore is not allowed if the pregnancy has progressed beyond 24 weeks. Most doctors will not initiate abortion beyond 23 weeks, so it is advised for the woman to make an early decision.
The only exception to this rule is a severe or lethal foetal abnormality, and even in this case, special approval is required from the authorities before the procedure can be carried out.
The Singapore Abortion Law act also requires that the woman undergoes brief counselling by a qualified abortion counsellor at any accredited abortion clinic, and watch a video on the subject.
For girls under the age of 16, they have to undergo mandatory counselling at the Health Promotion Board.
There is also a compulsory waiting period of 48 hours after the counselling before the procedure can be done - so that means you will have to visit your doctor twice - once for the scan to confirm the pregnancy and counselling, and the second visit is two days later, to undergo the termination.
But according to a news report, very few women who are seeking an abortion in Singapore will change their mind even after being counselled, and the Health Promotion Board reports that for the past five years, less than five percent of those who are counselled will actually keep their baby.
Keep reading for details on the cost and procedure of abortion in Singapore.