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MOH proposes pre-abortion counselling be made mandatory

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is proposing that pre-abortion counselling be made mandatory for all women seeking a termination of pregnancy in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) is proposing that pre-abortion counselling be made mandatory for all women seeking a termination of pregnancy in Singapore.

MOH will hold a public consultation on the proposal in the second half of this year.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said this on Monday in a written response to a parliamentary question filed by Non-constituency MP Gerald Giam.

Mr Giam had asked for an update on the review of the termination of pregnancy guidelines, which commenced in March last year.

Currently, women who have not passed the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and have no secondary education are not required to undergo pre-abortion counselling before terminating their pregnancy.

This is likewise for foreigners and women with three or more children.

Mr Gan noted that, currently, the majority of women seeking an abortion already receive counselling.

There has been a steady decline in the number of women who requested to terminate their pregnancy since 2008.

The number of women who submitted an abortion request fell from 12,208 in 2011 to 10,960 in 2012 -- the lowest figure since 2005 when 11,979 requests were made.

Conversely, the number of women who kept their pregnancy after counselling increased, from 268 in 2011 to 336 in 2012.

Mr Gan said the review of the contents of the pre-abortion counselling is ongoing.

This includes improving the information provided during counselling to women seeking an abortion, as well as the training given to counsellors.

Mr Gan said more details will be shared in the second half of this year. 

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