Termination of Pregnancy: Is Abortion Legal in Singapore?

Last updated on November 26, 2018

Pregnant woman with baby

Singapore’s laws on abortion are encapsulated in the Termination of Pregnancy Act (TPA).

Who is Eligible for Abortion Procedures in Singapore?

Abortions are legal in Singapore and there is no age limit for an abortion procedure. However, only the following persons may obtain treatment to terminate pregnancies:

  1. Citizens of Singapore, or a wife of a citizen of Singapore
  2. A holder, or the wife of a holder, of a work pass issued under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act
  3. Residents in Singapore for a period of at least 4 months immediately preceding the date on which the abortion is to be carried out
  4. Persons in exceptional circumstances, such as where an abortion is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman

If a pregnant woman does not meet any of the above-mentioned criteria and goes through with an abortion procedure, she can be fined of up to S$3,000, and/or up to 3 years’ jail.

The medical professional who handled the abortion procedure for her, could also be subject to the same penalties.

 

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Should a pregnant woman who does not fall under any of the above criteria go through with an abortion procedure, she can be fined of up to $3,000, jailed for up to 3 years, or both! 😶 The doctor 👨‍⚕️ who handled the procedure for her risks being subject to the same penalties as well. – Apart from meeting the eligibility criteria, every pregnant woman (especially those under the age of 16) must go for counselling before undergoing the abortion. If the pregnant woman still wishes to terminate her pregnancy after being counselled, at least 48 hours must elapse before she consents to the abortion. – The pregnant woman cannot be forced into terminating her pregnancy as well! Anyone who coerces, intimidates or induces her into undergoing an abortion against her will risks a fine of up to $3,000, jail time of up to 3 years, or both! – An abortion is no small procedure, with very real repercussions for the pregnant woman. It’s therefore best to ensure that all circumstances surrounding the pregnancy have been considered, before choosing whether or not to go through with the abortion.🤰🙇‍♀️ #SingaporeLegalAdvice

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Mandatory Counselling and Cooling-Off Period

Every pregnant woman, especially those under the age of 16, will be required to undergo mandatory counselling prior to the procedure.

If a pregnant woman, after receiving counselling, wishes to proceed with the termination of pregnancy, at least 48 hours must elapse before she consents to the abortion. She can only undergo the abortion procedure once this 48-hour window has passed.

Circumstances under which Abortion Procedures are Not to be Carried Out

Abortion procedures are prohibited if the pregnancy is over 16 weeks, unless the treatment is carried out by an authorised medical practitioner with the necessary qualifications. Procedures on pregnancies over 24 weeks are prohibited unless necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman.

Under the section 4 of the TPA, the duration of the pregnancy may be determined:

  • By clinical examination; or
  • By way of calculation from the first day of the last normal menstruation of the pregnant woman to the end of the 24th week, or to the end of any week between the 16th and the 24th week, whichever is applicable.

Additionally, any person (such as a scumbag husband) who uses coercion or intimidation to compel a pregnant woman to undergo an abortion, or to induce her to do so against her will, is guilty of a criminal offence and can be fined up to $3,000 and/or jailed up to 3 years.

Can Medical Professionals Refuse to Perform an Abortion?

Medical professionals are allowed to refuse to perform the abortion procedure if it goes against their beliefs. They are not bound by contract or any legal or statutory duty to perform the procedure, should they have a “conscientious objection” to doing so.

The only situations in which medical professionals must carry out their duty to perform the abortion procedure would be ones where it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or if performing the procedure would prevent grave or permanent injury to the pregnant woman’s physical or mental health.

Confidentiality of Abortion Procedures

Medical professionals and institutions are legally obliged to keep details of the abortion procedure confidential to protect the privacy of the woman undergoing the abortion. They may only disclose the details of the abortion procedure if she expressly consents to such disclosure.

Persons who breach this confidentiality requirement can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.