Minors who seek abortion encouraged to inform parents

We refer to Ms Ho Lay Ping's letter (Impose parental consent requirement for minors undergoing abortions; March 10).

Under the Termination of Pregnancy Regulations, all pregnant women seeking an abortion in Singapore are required to undergo pre-abortion counselling with a trained counsellor.

Unmarried minors below 16 are required to undergo compulsory pre-abortion counselling at the Health Promotion Board Counselling Centre.

The session will provide these women with information on the abortion procedure, educate them on issues such as responsible love, sexual behaviour and contraceptive methods and advise them on social support to prevent repeated unwanted pregnancies.

The pregnant woman can only give her written consent to the abortion at least 48 hours after the counselling session. This is to allow her time to carefully consider her decision for abortion. Those who require further support and follow-up are also directed to the Family Service Centres or helplines.

Currently, parental consent is not required due to concerns that mandating parental consent for such abortions may compel these minors to risk their lives by seeking unsafe abortions.

Minors seeking abortions are encouraged to inform and discuss with their parents and families on their decision to undergo an abortion. From 2013 to last year, approximately two in three minors under 16 were accompanied by at least one parent when attending pre-abortion counselling. About nine in 10 had self-reported that they had informed at least one of their parents about the decision to undergo an abortion.

Lim Siok Peng (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'Minors who seek abortion encouraged to inform parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe