Unwed mums - tackle issue at its roots

It is good that Singapore has reached such an affluent state that we can afford to start looking at supporting people who are on the fringes of society ("Review of benefits for unwed mothers"; July 29).

Such a policy change is a double-edged sword.

In the short term, it will mitigate the hardship unwed mothers currently suffer.

In the longer term, it will make it easier both for women who are coping with unwanted pregnancies to keep their babies instead of aborting them, and for women who get pregnant but choose not to marry the father of their child.

As a nation, we want to encourage the first, but not necessarily the second.

Singapore maintains the wisdom that children thrive best in families that include their biological fathers and mothers.

If a woman has a choice, we should encourage her to have the child within the context of a marriage. Therefore, the details of the policy implementation should address this aspect.

The way to truly solve a problem is at its roots.

For the long-term welfare of Singapore, it would serve us well to examine the reasons behind unwed mothers, and spend more of our resources addressing them.

It will take more time, effort and resources, but will yield us more benefits in the long run. 

Elisa Choo (Mrs)