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Abortion in Singapore

Abortion service has been legal in Singapore since 1969

Singapore Abortion

Abortion is a procedure that ends a pregnancy, and is also known as a termination of pregnancy.

Abortion services in Singapore are legal and effective, especially when in experienced and accredited hands. When done by a qualified medical professional, abortion surgery is safe and predictable with minimal discomfort. An accredited abortion clinic should be properly equipped and staffed so as to provide quality care to women before, during and after the procedure.

Medical abortion in Singapore can only be used in early pregnancies up to around 10 weeks; whereas a surgical abortion can be used for early to more advanced pregnancies. At an abortion centre, surgical abortions are done through either vacuum aspiration or dilation and evacuation.

There is a mandatory counselling and cooling-off period for every pregnant woman who opts to have an abortion in Singapore. After seeing an abortion doctor and counsellor, the patient must wait at least 48 hours before choosing to proceed with the abortion.

Parental Consent

Parental consent is not required under the Singapore Abortion Act unless the pregnant woman is not of sound mind and body. However, the Act requires that the woman undergoes counseling by a certified abortion counselor at an MOH-accredited abortion clinic and watch a video clip on the subject.

Girls under 16 years old

Counseling at Health Promotion Board is required, and a certificate of attendance is to be obtained before abortion can be carried out at an approved clinic providing abortions services. Parental consent is not required.

Less than 14 years

It is an offence (known as statutory rape) for any male to have sexual intercourse with a woman under 14 years of age. So if you are below 14 years there will be no medical confidentiality to protect you from being reported to the police and to your parents.

Legal Limit for Termination of Pregnancy

The legal limit for abortion in Singapore isup to 24 weeks gestation.

Abortion for Foreigners

Foreigners may have abortion performed in Singapore if ANY ONE of the following conditions are met:

  • they have a valid work pass issued by Ministry of Manpower (WP/S/EP); or
  • they have stayed in Singapore for more than 4 consecutive months prior to the date of abortion; or
  • they are married to a Singapore citizen;or
  • they are married to a Singapore PR AND have stayed in Singapore for more than 4 consecutive months

These restrictions do not apply to foreigners who require evacuation for miscarriage, but the age of legal consent (21 and above) will apply in this scenario.

What are the Types of Abortion?

Surgical Abortion

This refers to the process of ending a pregnancy via instrumental techniques such as vacuum aspiration and dilation and curettage (D&C).

During such procedures, a speculum is placed to open the vaginal walls, allowing the doctor to access the cervix and uterus. The instruments are then inserted and used to remove the pregnancy tissues from the uterus. Surgical abortion may be done as early as the first trimester.

Doctors recommend this type of abortion in Singapore as it is known to be much safer, more comfortable and has a high efficacy rate.

Medical Abortion

This type of procedure uses medicine to terminate a pregnancy. Specifically, it uses misoprostol to cause contractions in the uterus, leading to the pregnancy tissues being expelled. This procedure can be performed on pregnant women who are below their 9th week of pregnancy.

With the monitoring of an experienced doctor, a medical abortion is also generally safe and effective, albeit more painful and drawn out than the surgical route. A medical abortion also has a higher risk of complications, which include a failed or incomplete abortion (continued pregnancy), heavy and prolonged bleeding, and infection. All these may require a follow-up abortion surgery.

What happens before and after an in-clinic abortion procedure?

Before an in-clinic abortion, patients will meet with their doctor to discuss what options are suitable for them. The stage of pregnancy and the general health of the woman will also be assessed; and counselling is mandatory at least 48h before a scheduled abortion.

After an in-clinic abortion, doctors will provide instructions on basic care instructions and what to look out for. Medications will be provided to manage pain, if needed. Most patients can return to their day-to-day activities after 1–2 days. They must have a follow-up visit with their doctor to ensure that they are healing properly.

Does an abortion affect your fertility?

There is no link between an abortion and reduced fertility. In fact, doctors often caution women to exercise good contraception options as they can fall pregnant again shortly after an abortion. However, if the woman experiences a rare complication following an abortion, such as a uterine infection or perforation, then that may have an impact on her future ability to get pregnant. This is very unlikely when in the hands of an experienced doctor.

What are possible complications of abortion?

As safe and established as an abortion is, all medical procedures will still carry a certain amount of risk. While the risk is very low when performed by an accredited abortion doctor, they include:

  • Bleeding: Women are likely to experience light bleeding up to after 2 weeks of having an abortion. However, excessive and prolonged bleeding will require medical attention.
  • Infection: As an abortion involves exposing the uterine cavity to the outside, infection is a possibility (such as if harmful bacteria present in the vagina enters from the genitals to the cervix and uterus).
  • Injury to the Womb: Abortion may result in some injuries to the womb if not done properly.
  • Infertility: In cases of scar tissue forming in the uterus following multiple abortions, infertility may become a possibility.
  • Incomplete Removal of Pregnancy: In rare cases whereby the complete removal of pregnancy tissues was not achieved, a follow-up abortion surgery will be needed.

Why do people get abortions?

There are numerous reasons why women opt for an abortion in Singapore. Some of these reasons are:

  • The pregnancy poses a danger to the health or life of the mother and/or the baby
  • They lack the financial means to support a child
  • They are not ready to be a parent yet
  • They wish to complete school first, before working and starting a family
  • Etc.

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