Conflicting signals from abortion law and pro-family policies

It is comforting to learn that the number of abortions has dropped to a record low of 7,217 last year (Steady decline in abortion numbers; Nov 15).

One factor cited for the decline was the greater use of contraception. However, it has also been reported that many young people are choosing to forgo using condoms while having sex (More young people in Singapore get sexual infections; June 18).

In 2013, women aged between 20 and 39 accounted for 86 per cent of the total number of 9,282 abortions (Abortions fall to 30-year low; July 27, 2014). Over half of the abortions were done on married women while singles accounted for about 40 per cent.

The Government has been zealous in crafting pro-family policies to address the barriers to marriage and parenthood. Yet the law since 1970 that allows babies up till six months of gestation to be aborted sends a conflicting message to society.

Are children truly welcome in our nation?

There is no unwanted child, only challenging circumstances that can be overcome. Children are the source of our hopes and dreams.

They are a gift, not a burden. They teach us what sacrificial love is, when we love them more than we love ourselves.

Surely no woman goes for an abortion feeling empowered. Besides enduring the intrusive abortion procedure with its risks and potential side effects, she suffers the greatest from the loss of her child (Racked by shame and guilt after abortion, she now hopes to help others with new support group; Nov 14).

Studies have shown that men, too, feel depressed, angry and powerless when they have not been consulted about the decision to abort or when the feelings around the decision are ambivalent.

Abortion reinforces male irresponsibility by allowing men to walk away from the consequences of their sexual behaviour, even as women are made to bear these consequences in their own bodies.

In cases where women are abandoned, we should support these mothers who chose life for their children.

Ho Lay Ping (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Conflicting signals from abortion law and pro-family policies'. Print Edition | Subscribe