Pro-family policies should not be anti-women

As a woman of child-bearing age, I believe that it is necessary to protect the right to terminate a pregnancy for two simple reasons (Conflicting signals from abortion law and pro-family policies, by Ms Ho Lay Ping; Nov 20).

First, from a legal perspective, the law on the termination of pregnancy allows for the protection of the rights of victims of sexual assault resulting in pregnancy.

Denying these victims the option of terminating their pregnancies means forcing them to carry a reminder of the heinous act for nine months, as if the assault itself were not barbaric enough.

It is essential to protect the emotional and mental health of women who find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances.

Second, protecting the right to terminate a pregnancy is, of itself, protecting the rights of women.

Every person has the right to decide and act in her own best interest - be it becoming a vegan or tattooing one's face.

This is the concept of bodily sovereignty.

Therefore, if a pregnant woman or teenager decides that it is in her own best interest to terminate the pregnancy, her right to bodily sovereignty should not be impinged upon - regardless of her reasons or the objections of other people.

Taking away this right would undermine the status of women, as they would not have full autonomy of their bodies as men do.

For these two reasons, I believe preserving the right to terminate a pregnancy is being humane, although it may appear counter-intuitive at first.

While I stand with Ms Ho in encouraging the Government to support women who freely choose to bear children, pro-family policies should not be anti-women.

Joanne Lee Yen Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2017, with the headline 'Pro-family policies should not be anti-women'. Print Edition | Subscribe