Counselling critical for teens contemplating abortion YourLetters

The liberalisation of abortion for teenagers, with no need for parental consent, conveys a feeling that teens are capable of making their own choices (Two abortions by the age of 16; March 18).

However, teens in this situation may be more concerned about not letting their parents know about their predicament and fearful of the social stigma should others find out. In such an emotional state, they may desire a quick and effective way of getting rid of the "problem", opting for an abortion without giving much weight to the issues involved and the consequences.

The boyfriends concerned may also think along the same lines and encourage their girlfriends to go ahead with the abortion. Their reasons often boil down to the unwillingness to take responsibility or concern about their reputation.

Some people have argued that complications of infections and post-abortion stress are negligible. However, in my medical practice, I have seen the emotional and mental stress and guilt appearing some time down the road after an abortion.

Another factor to take into consideration is that teens who go through abortions tend to develop an unwholesome understanding of sex and family. The fact that the various teens proceed to undergo more abortions involving other relationships rather quickly raises many concerns. Such distorted views of love and sex invariably follow with these teens ending up with unwholesome relationships in their marriages and families.

There were 6,815 abortions last year. It is ironic that we are lamenting the lack of births in our society when numerous abortions are taking place at the same time.

I have treated young individuals whose parents had intended to abort them because of financial or family problems, but changed their minds after counselling. These parents have expressed gratitude that they had not gone ahead with their initial decision.

Similarly, in my practice, after undergoing counselling, some teens and their parents went ahead with their pregnancies and the babies were later adopted by other families.

Teenagers need a wholesome understanding of sex, marriage and responsibilities in family life. The distortion of these values will invariably affect the quality of our families and nation.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 25, 2018, with the headline 'Counselling critical for teens contemplating abortion YourLetters'. Print Edition | Subscribe