MOH Public Consultation on Pre-Abortion Counselling Criteria

The Humanist Society (Singapore) wrote a letter in response to the Health Ministry public consultation on pre-abortion criteria. The Ministry has thanked the Society for its feedback.

Email letter to MOH

Dear Sir/ Madam

The Humanist Society (Singapore) is writing in in response to the Ministry of Health’s open consultation as regards pre-abortion counselling. We applaud the ministry’s continuing commitment to providing the best medical care for all in Singapore, including medically-sound procedures for termination of pregnancy.

Like any other medical procedure, there are risks to a patient’s medical health if she undergoes the termination operation. To ensure that the patient is making an informed choice, she should be provided with up-to-date, scientifically validated advice as regards the procedure.

MOH should come up with a scientific, standardised counselling process and syllabus focused on the best interests of the patient, and ensure that the same is rigorously followed by all state-appointed counsellors for this procedure.

Additionally, such counsellors should be willing and able to provide scientifically-robust medical information when advising patients about the procedure.

While we recognise that there may be emotional undertones to the termination of pregnancy, these should not be addressed in the state-sponsored counselling process as different patients will have varying emotional/ psychiatric states.

If a patient displays strong signs of emotional or psychiatric distress, she should be given the entirely discretionary option of consulting with medical welfare workers or accredited psychiatrists. However, such consultation should be separate from the state-sponsored counselling requirement, without delaying the patient’s right to have the procedure performed as soon as possible.

We also recommend that the Ministry monitors all non-governmental organisations which provide “pregnancy crisis counselling” in Singapore, to ensure that such NGOs only provide scientifically-valid information to their clients. This will safeguard patient well-being by ensuring that all receive consistent advice, regardless of the service provider.The Society is happy to provide more in-depth views if the Ministry so requires.

Yours sincerely
Zheng Huifen (Ms)

On behalf of Executive Committee,
Humanist Society (Singapore)