If you have any questions about contraception, sexually transmitted infections, STI testing, pregnancy or abortion, the best thing you can do is speak with a doctor. If you don’t have a doctor then talk to the DSC Clinic or visit a local clinic.
Who can have an abortion?
According to the Singapore Abortion Act law:
- there is no defined age limit for the abortion procedure
- there is no legal requirement for parental consent for minors
- abortion is prohibited after 24 weeks (6 months) of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is in danger
What is the process?
- Abortion patients must undergo compulsory counselling before the procedure. Girls below 16 years of age need to be counseled at the Health Promotion Board Counselling Centre (except for rape victims).
- This is followed by a mandatory waiting period of 48 hours before the procedure can be done.
- If you want an abortion and your doctor refuses on personal grounds, you have the right to seek a second opinion. See here for other providers.
- Patients will normally undergo post abortion counseling after the procedure and may be required to return a week later to check for any complications.
- Because of the risk of infection, some doctors may advise that you should not have sex for up to two weeks after your procedure.
Types of Abortion
In Singapore, there are 2 main types of abortion procedure:
- Vacuum Aspiration - (up to 14 weeks)
The patient will have to fast for at least 4 hours and sedation will be given as anesthesia (ie you will be put to sleep for about 10 minutes). Then a small tube is placed into the womb via the vagina. An attached vacuum will then remove the pregnancy. The patient should be able to go home after 2 to 4 hours.
- Mid Trimester Pregnancy Termination - (14 to 24 weeks)
This process is more complicated and hospitalisation is usually required for a day or two. Medicine is inserted into the vagina to induce natural expulsion of the pregnancy. After the foetus and placenta are aborted, the womb is cleared by by vacuum aspiration as above.
Because the second procedure is much more complicated, it is much better for an early decision for abortion be made.
Legal restrictions on foreigners
Foreigners are only eligible for abortion in Singapore if one of the following criteria are met:
- They have been residing in Singapore for 4 months or more
- They are married to a Singapore citizen or have PR status
- If they have a work permit
- Guidelines on Termination of Pregnancy (PDF) – Ministry of Health
- Singapore Sees Abortion Rates Rise - AFP, May 2009
A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said there were 12,222 abortions in Singapore in 2008, compared to 11,933 in 2007. No official figures are available for 2009 (source). During the same period there were 39,935 babies delivered indicating that roughly 1 in 4 pregnancies are terminated.
While a small proportion of pregnancies are terminated for health reasons, most terminations are due to financial or social concerns (unwanted pregnancy).