Abortion in Singapore
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 who see it as the only way out of an unwanted pregnancy. You may need to understand a few facts before going for an abortion in Singapore.
There are many reasons why a woman would choose to terminate her pregnancy by opting for an abortion. According to some studies these could be:
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 the reasons are, it is not an easy decision to make.
Getting an abortion in Singapore is legal. But it is available only on request during the first 24 weeks of gestation, that is, first six months. There may be exceptions when 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 in Singapore. Of these 6,431 were Singaporeans.
Eligibility for abortion in Singapore
Abortion in Singapore 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 procedure for an abortion in Singapore. Furthermore, there’s no 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. As far as legality goes, no consent is required from the husband. Though, you might want to let your husband know if you’re planning on getting an abortion.
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. But even in this case, special approval is required from the authorities before the procedure can be carried out.
Abortion in Singapore: Pre-abortion
The Singapore Abortion Law act also requires that the woman undergoes brief counselling by a qualified abortion counsellor at any accredited abortion clinic. She is also required to watch a video on the subject.
Girls under the age of 16 years 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. 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.
The cost of abortion in Singapore
Under the Termination of Pregnancy act in Singapore, for an abortion in Singapore, only an authorised gynaecologist in an approved institution can carry out the procedure.
The cost of the procedure itself ranges from $300 to $3500 or more. This mainly depends on the variations in the type of theatre employed, the depth of anaesthesia applied, other inclusions and the actual clinic you choose.
A first trimester termination procedure usually includes the surgical procedural fee, sedation and day surgery facility fees.
Mid-trimester termination (14-24 weeks) will cost more as it involves a longer and more complicated process in hospital.
Singaporean patients are also entitled to a Medisave claim and will have to produce either your NRIC or your husband’s NRIC if you choose to use his Medisave account.
What happens during an abortion?
According to AWARE, in Singapore there are three types of abortion procedures, which are:
Medication will be administered either vaginally or orally over a period of two days, which will cause strong contractions in the uterus, after which the cervix will dilate and thus expel the pregnancy.
This procedure can only be done up to eight weeks.
First trimester surgical abortion (8 – 12 weeks)
In this procedure, forceps are inserted into the vagina and a local anaesthetic is inserted into the cervix. The cervix is then carefully dilated and a thin tube is passed through it and into the uterus.
A tube is then attached and used to suction the tissue out of the uterus. A curette will then be used to ensure the complete removal of pregnancy tissues.
Second trimester surgical abortion — (12 to 24 weeks)
This procedure is more complicated and hospitalisation is usually required for a one or two days. Medication will be inserted into the vagina to induce the natural expulsion of the pregnancy.
After the foetus and placenta are aborted, the womb will be cleared by vacuum aspiration. Because this process is much more complicated, it is advised that an early decision for abortion should be made.
As with any medical procedures, there are potential complications which may arise.
For abortions, the risks are:
– Light bleeding
– Incomplete evacuation of the womb
– Painful cramping
– Injury to the womb
– Pelvic infection
Another extremely rare complication is uterine perforation, where a probe goes through the wall of the womb, which requires repair via keyhole surgery.
Other options in Singapore
Abortion is not the only option of “getting rid” of a pregnancy.
If you are seeking assistance about your pregnancy, there are various hotlines that you can call to talk about the other options, such as:
Pregnancy Crisis Service: 6339-9770
Babes: 8111-3535 (for pregnant teenagers)
*theAsianparent takes a neutral stance on this topic, as we feel abortion is a decision best made by the woman, after discussion with relevant parties.
What is your stand on abortions? Do you think it is a woman’s right to decide for herself? Or do you feel it should not even be an option? Tell us your views in the comments section below.