FAQs on Abortion in Singapore
Under the Termination of Pregnancy Act in Singapore, abortion can only be carried out by an authorized gynecologist in an approved institution.
Am I eligible to undergo termination of pregnancy?
Termination of pregnancy can only be performed on any pregnant woman who is:
1. A citizen / permanent resident of Singapore or the wife of a citizen / permanent resident of Singapore;
2. A holder or the wife of a holder of a work pass issued under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (Cap. 91A);
3. A person who has been resident in Singapore for at least 4 months
It may also be performed if it is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.
Who can have an abortion?
According to the Singapore Abortion Act law:
· There is no defined age limit for the abortion procedure
· There is no legal requirement for parental consent for minors
· Abortion is prohibited after 24 weeks (6 months) of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Can a foreigner undergo termination of pregnancy in Singapore?
It is against the Termination of Pregnancy Act to perform abortions for foreigners who come into Singapore on a social or tourist pass. Abortion can only be performed for foreigners who have stayed in Singapore for more than 4 months consecutively.
It is mandatory by law to provide pre-abortion counseling for a pregnant woman, regardless of marital status and nationality.
Counselling will be done at Thomson Medical Centre Day Surgery Centre Basement 1 at least 48 Hours before the scheduled date of procedure.
How long do I need to wait before I can have the procedure of termination of pregnancy performed?
At least 48 hours should lapse after pre-abortion counseling (if you fulfill the criteria to undergo pre-abortion counseling) before the pregnant woman can give her written consent to treatment.
Consent for Abortion – is there an age limit?
No parental consent is required, even if the patient is less than 16 years of age (but above 14 years old). However, a patient must be above 16 years of age before an abortion can be performed with her consent alone.
For girls less than 16 years of age, it is mandatory to undergo counseling at the Health Promotion Board Counseling Centre and obtain a Certificate of Attendance before abortion can be carried out. This entire process is strictly confidential and no one will be informed, including parents of the patient.
For girls less than 14 years of age, there is no medical confidentiality to protect them from being reported to the police and to parents, as it is an offence for any male to have sexual intercourse with a girl under 14 years of age (statutory rape).
Process of Abortion Procedure
Generally there are 2 main types of abortion procedure:
a) Vacuum aspiration (up to 12 weeks)
The patient needs to fast for 6 hours. Procedure can be performed under sedation in day surgery facility at TMC. A small tube is then placed into the womb via the vagina, to remove the pregnancy. The process takes about 10 minutes and it is painless. The patient will be monitored closely for an hour post procedure and should be able to return home within 2 hours.
b) Mid-Trimester Termination of Pregnancy (MTPT) (14-23+6 weeks)
MTPT is a more complicated process and involves hospitalization for a day or two. Medicine is inserted into the vagina at regular intervals to induce expulsion of the pregnancy. The womb is then cleaned by vacuum aspiration and curettage after the fetus and placenta are aborted. As this process is much more complicated, early decision is important.
Potential Complications of an Abortion
It is normal to expect light bleeding for a few days after an abortion, and normal menses will usually return in 4-5 weeks. However, prolonged and heavy bleeding may occur if the womb has not been emptied completely. It is therefore important to see your gynecologist for a follow up visit 1-2 weeks after an abortion for an examination.
Incomplete evacuation of womb
Due to anatomical variations of the womb position, it may not be possible to completely evacuate all the pregnancy contents using the vacuum aspiration method. However this is uncommon under skilled hands.
It is very common to experience menstrual cramp like pain immediately after the procedure as the womb contracts. It is usually manageable with painkillers and pain usually resolves in a day or so. However, if pain persists beyond a few days, it is important to have a check by your gynecologist.
Infection can occur if bacteria travel up into the womb during the procedure, or if the womb has not been emptied properly. Infection can present as unpleasant vaginal discharge, fever and lower abdominal pains. If some tissue remains inside the uterus, it may be necessary to have a procedure to remove the contents in the womb.
It is advisable to avoid sexual intercourse for about 1 week after an abortion procedure.
Injury to the womb
During a surgical termination, insertion of instruments may risk puncturing a hole in the wall of the womb. The risk is increased if the cervix was not prepared adequately, or if the womb position is abnormal. If this is suspected during the procedure, the operation will be stopped immediately and the patient will need to be transferred to the hospital for observation overnight or have a keyhole surgery performed to check for bleeding and repair the injury. This complication, however, is rare.
Will my records of abortion be kept confidential?
The entire process of consultation and abortion is kept strictly confidential, and no third parties will know about your abortion. This includes parents, companies and employers. No medical information will be released without your prior approval and consent.
Cost of an abortion procedure
A first trimester termination procedure (uncomplicated) generally costs between $1400 – 1900 (total hospital bill). This cost includes surgical procedural fee, sedation and day surgery facility fees.
The procedure will be performed at Thomson Medical Centre Day Surgery Centre by our Specialist Dr Ben Choey from SBCC Women’s Clinic. This ensures safety of procedure and sedation and constant monitoring immediately after the procedure. You should be able to go home after approximately 2 hours.
Mid-trimester termination (14-24 weeks) will cost more as it involves a more prolonged and complicated process in hospital (estimate amount of $3500 – $4500).
Singaporeans / PRs / Spouses of Citizens and PRs may use Medisave of between $900 – 1050 to offset the cost of procedure.
Payment may be made by NETS / CREDIT CARD / CASH
Arrangements for Procedure
You will first consult our Specialist Doctor at SBCC Women’s Clinic.
An ultrasound will be performed to determine the gestational age of your pregnancy.
Arrangements will be made for pre-abortion counseling at Thomson Medical Centre Day Surgery Centre (this has to be at least 48 hours before the scheduled date for the abortion procedure)
An appointment for your procedure will also be made during your first consultation with our Specialist Doctor. Specific instructions regarding the procedure will also be given to you on the same day. Contraception will be discussed in greater detail at your first visit. Following the procedure, your specialist will talk to you about contraception at the appropriate time. A review 2 weeks later will be scheduled to ensure that there are no complications resulting from the procedure.
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