Abortion – a deeply sensitive and complex subject matter that involves a range of social, ethical, and legal considerations. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is by no means easy or simple and comes with a lot of challenges, especially when one is unaware or doesn’t have much understanding of the laws that regulate abortions in Singapore. While you may or may not have a strong opinion on the termination of pregnancy in Singapore, it is essential to have a good understanding of the legal landscape surrounding abortions in Singapore. This is important because women need to be aware of their reproductive rights in order to make the correct choice for their lives. Read on to learn more about abortion laws in Singapore.
Understanding Abortion Laws in Singapore
Abortion laws in Singapore are specific and well-regulated with the goal of safe-guarding women’s rights and the sanctity of life.
Abortion is permitted by law only if the following are in place:
- There is a risk to maternal health: If the pregnancy poses a risk towards the life of the mother (physically or mentally), a termination of pregnancy in Singapore can be considered. However, this decision can be made only by a qualified medical professional.
- Following rape or incest: If the pregnancy has occurred due to rape or incest, an abortion is legally permitted, considering the emotional and physical well-being of the individual.
- There are foetal abnormalities: If any foetal abnormalities are found during prenatal screening, an abortion may be carried out to protect both the woman and the child and to prevent any suffering.
- For economic or social reasons: While this is not stated in black and white, it is understood that a termination of pregnancy in Singapore can be considered if the economic or social situation is significantly affecting the lives of the pregnant woman and the child.
Here are some factors that need to be taken into account in accordance with abortion laws in Singapore:
- Age limit: In Singapore, there is no specific minimum or maximum age for abortions to be carried out.
- Parental consent: While there is no law that states that parental consent is required for abortions in minors (under 16), they must attend the Health Promotion Board Counselling Centre for an abortion consultation and acquire a valid Certificate of Attendance (COA).
- Gestational limit: Abortions that are carried out after 24 weeks of pregnancy go against the law unless the pregnant woman’s life is in danger.
Foreigners in Singapore may consider carrying out a termination of pregnancy in Singapore only if they meet one of the following conditions:
- They have been living in Singapore for four months or more.
- They need to have a permanent residency (PR) or be married to a Singapore citizen.
- They have a work permit pass or are married to a holder of a work permit pass (permanent work permit).
- The continuation of the pregnancy is life-threatening.
Approved Institutions and Requirements to Perform a Termination of Pregnancy in Singapore
- Abortions are generally carried out in government hospitals, licensed private healthcare institutions or licensed abortion clinics in Singapore and approved medical practitioners must perform them.
- The necessary resources with the adherence to safety protocols are essential to be in conformity with the law.
- The licensed abortion clinic in Singapore or healthcare institution must also have a qualified counsellor to help the patient.
- According to Singapore’s legislation, women are required to seek counselling from a recognised institution or an approved counsellor before having an abortion.
Termination of an Unwanted Pregnancy in Singapore: Circumstances in Which an Abortion Cannot Be Carried Out
- The termination of an unwanted pregnancy in Singapore is prohibited if the pregnancy is over 16 weeks unless the procedure is carried out by an authorised and approved medical professional.
- Abortions in Singapore that are performed for pregnancies over 24 weeks are prohibited unless necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman.
- Abortions in Singapore cannot be performed against the will of the pregnant woman – this is a criminal offence, and the guilty party may be fined (up to $3000) or put in jail (up to 3 years).
Termination of an Unwanted Pregnancy in Singapore: Additional Information
Medical professionals have the right to refuse to perform a termination of an unwanted pregnancy in Singapore. If the procedure goes against their system of beliefs, they are not bound by the law to carry it out. Having said that, when it comes to saving the life of the pregnant woman, they must perform the procedure if the situation demands it (life-threatening condition).
Furthermore, medical practitioners and institutions are legally required to keep information on the abortion procedure discreet in order to preserve the privacy of the woman undergoing the surgery. However, they may reveal the details of the abortion process if the patient specifically consents to it. Practitioners who violate this requirement may face a fine of up to $2,000 or a 12-month prison sentence.
Get in Touch with a MOH-Approved Abortion Clinic in Singapore
Seng’s OG Practice is an MOH-approved abortion clinic that ensures your safety with the provision of quality and confidential healthcare. With a range of comprehensive services and treatments, you can rest assured that you will be given the appropriate treatment and will be looked after with respect and compassion.