Getting An Abortion In Singapore: Costs, Facts, And Tips From The People Who've Been Through It
Growing up in a conservative Catholic family, sex before marriage, unplanned pregnancies, and abortion have always been taboo- both to my conservative parents, and the Catholic community at large.
Yet, I’ve seen quite a few cases unplanned pregnancies from the people around me, many of whom were too afraid to talk to the people closest to them, due to the heavy, stigmatized nature of unplanned pregnancies.
The sad truth is: we still don’t know how to talk about abortion.
Discussions around abortion tend to be too simplistic: “Don’t do it”, they say. “Use protection, don’t be stupid,” they say.
In other words, when shit happens, girls sometimes don’t have the luxury of turning to the right channels or having access to talking about this to the people closest to them.
I write this piece, not with the intention to encourage abortions. Rather, I hope to encourage an open conversation around this, so that the internet, at least, will be able to provide some help to these groups of individuals.
TL;DR: The Cost Of Abortion For Public And Private Hospitals In Singapore
- Things to consider before abortion
- Is It legal? How can i keep it private?
- What is the process like?
- Cost of abortion in public and private hospitals
- Public VS Private Hospitals
- Tips and Advice from girls who’ve been through it.
- Helplines you can call
To Abort, Or Not To Abort?
Getting pregnant is scary, especially if it isn’t something that you’ve planned for. After the initial stage of shock and fear, the process of making a decision is a difficult one. In the process of writing this article, I interviewed some of my friends who have dealt with unplanned pregnancies, and here’s a list of things they’d think about, before deciding on whether or not to get an abortion:
- Do I want the child? Am I ready to have a child?
- What happens if I don’t have the child?
- What happens if I have the child?
- At this current stage of my life, am I able to embrace having a child in my life?
- If I were to have a child, will I be able to provide my child with a good life?
- Can I afford to have a child?
- Who will be able to help me if I were to have the child?
- How will this affect my current and future relationships?
- What is my moral perception of abortion? Is it something I can accept?
- How will having this child affect my future?
This list is definitely not exhaustive, but I hope it provides you with something to think about before making a decision. There are also mandatory counselling sessions (1 or 2 sessions) that you have to go through before the abortion procedure.
“I Don’t Want My Parents To Know. How?”
On Legal And Privacy Matters For Abortion.
Is Abortion Legal In Singapore?
It is legal to get an abortion in Singapore but only during the first 24 weeks (six months) of pregnancy.
- There is no defined minimum or maximum age for the abortion procedure in Singapore
- There is no legal requirement for parental consent for minors (under 16).
- Abortion is prohibited after 24 weeks (6 months) of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is in danger. (The duration of the pregnancy shall be calculated from the first day of the last normal menstruation of the pregnant woman to the end of the 24th week.)
You can legally get an abortion in Singapore if:
- Your pregnancy is below 24 weeks
- You are a Singaporean citizen or the wife of a Singaporean citizen
If you’re non-Singaporean, you can only get an abortion if:
- You have PR status or you’re married to a Singaporean citizen
- You have been residing in Singapore for more than 4 months
After 24 weeks of pregnancy, you can only get an abortion if your life is at risk, or if your foetus has a severe abnormality. This has to be performed in a public hospital.
On Privacy Concerns:
For those with the intention to abort due to unplanned pregnancies, privacy is a huge concern to them.
According to the Termination of Pregnancy [TOP] Act, there is no defined age limit for the procedure for abortion in Singapore. There is also no legal requirement for parental consent for minors under the age of 16.
However, do note that those under 21 years old will need parental acknowledgment before going through with the abortion.
Do note that while there might be no age limit to abortions, however, if there are any complications post-abortion that requires surgery, parental consent is required for girls below the age of 18.
For example, if there is excessive internal bleeding after the abortion and your family brings you to the hospital, the surgery cannot go on without parental consent for girls who are underaged.
Also, for abortion cases, you will be able to use your MediSave for subsidies. If you use MediSave, do note that the transaction for the procedure will be included in your medical record. That said, there is nothing much to worry about as it is unlikely that it will affect future employment opportunities etc.
What is also important to note is that hospitals also tend to send follow-up mails for receipts, follow-ups, and appointments to your home address. So if privacy is a concern for you, you can always change your address, or give an alternative address to the hospital.
What Is The Process Like?
The usual procedure includes a consultation and an ultrasound scan to show how many weeks you’ve been pregnant. This is followed by the pre-abortion counselling, the abortion itself, and a post-abortion check-up and counselling. During the abortion, you may be going through either of the three procedures below:
|Medical abortions||Surgical Abortion (First Trimester)||Surgical Abortion (Second Trimester)|
|Valid For||Pregnancies less than eight weeks||Pregnancies that are 8-12 weeks||Pregnancies that are 12-24 weeks|
|How the abortion is done||It involves consuming an “abortion pill”; no need for any surgery or anaesthetic.||Performing a vacuum aspiration procedure to induce abortion; done under sedation or general anaesthesia.||Performing a vacuum aspiration procedure to induce abortion; done under sedation or general anaesthesia.|
|Details||NIL||Forceps are inserted into the vagina and a local anaesthetic is inserted into the cervix. The cervix is then carefully dilated and a thin tube is passed through it and into the uterus.|
A tube is then attached and used to suction the tissue out of the uterus; a curette will then be used to ensure the complete removal of pregnancy tissues.
|More complicated procedure, needs one or two days.
Medication inserted in vagina to induce natural expulsion of the pregnancy.
After the foetus and placenta are aborted, the womb will be cleared by vacuum aspiration.
Risks And Complications?
Abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women, if it takes place within the first trimester and is done by a trained professional. The risk of death associated with abortion is low and the risk of major complications is less than 1 percent. In fact, giving birth is more dangerous than abortion. Regardless, here are some risks that abortion entails:
- Infection of the uterus (Risk: 10%)
- Excessive Bleeding (Risk: 0.1%)
- Damage to the cervix (Risk: 1%)
- Damage to the uterus (Risk: ~0.4%)
- Residual pregnancy tissue still remaining (Risk: 1-6%)
Cost Of Abortion For Public & Private Hospitals
An abortion in Singapore costs about $1000 – $3000 in total at a private clinic, and about $750 – $1500 in total at a public hospital.
These costs include:
- Doctor consultation and follow-ups
- Ultrasound scans
The age of your pregnancy is the most important determining factor in how much your abortion will cost. Aborting an advanced pregnancy will be more expensive as compared to a first-trimester abortion. Below is a list of healthcare providers you can go to, if you are looking to abort a child. Other factors affecting the cost of abortion includes method of abortion, whether or not you’re on anesthesia, and whether or not you have pre-existing medical conditions.
I have also called up quite a few of these hospitals myself, to get a sense of the cost of abortion for both public and private hospitals:
|Name Of Hospital/ Clinic||Public/Private?||Cost For Abortion||Remarks||Contact Information|
|KK Women's and Children's Hospital||Public||If go through polyclinic referral: $650 for abortion procedure, $41 for consultation.|
Private: (Direct to KKH without referral) $2076
|Rates are for Singaporeans.||6225 5554|
|Singapore General Hospital||Public||Abortion cost (excluding ultrasound and consultation): $826 after subsidy- MediSave will can cover up to $678. |
Private rates: $2724
|Rates according to SGH Billing Department||6222 3322|
|National University Hospital||Public||From $431 for abortion procedure, after referral and subsidy.||-||Call 6772 2255 / 2277 for more information or to make an appointment, or email them at [email protected]|
|Women's Clinic of Singapore||Private||Consultation: $100, Abortion Fee from $950||Doctor: Dr. Jen Shek Wei||Patient Care Helpline: 6690 2460|
|The O & G Care Clinic||Private||~$1070||Doctor: Dr. Wee Horng Yen||Telephone: 6909 3796 /6909 3797 / 96384928 (whatsapp)|
|Parkway Women & Fertility Clinic||Private||From $1799 to $2600 nett |
|Doctor: Dr. G.V Nair||Telephone : 6345 5688 (call for an appointment)
Email: [email protected]
|Lien Clinic For Women||Private||$256.80 consultation|
Abortion cost from $1900 to $2900.
|Doctor: Dr. Lien||Telephone & emergency: 6736 3331 (make an appointment with the receptionist here)
Email: [email protected]
|The Obgyn Centre||Private||Cost ranges from $2,800 (below 10 weeks)-$3,300 (10-12 weeks). Inclusive of consultation.||Doctor: Dr. Kenneth Wong H.K.||Telephone: 9100 3874 or call 6235 4188 to make an appointment
Email: [email protected]
|SBCC Women’s Clinic||Private||Consultation: $100, Scan: $95|
|Doctor: Dr. Ng Ying Woo||Telephone: 6774 1654 (clementi ) / 6554 7040 (Ang Mo Kio)|
|Sidek Clinic For Women||Private||~ S$1,470*(Up to 9 weeks pregnancy) / ~S$1,820 (10-12 weeks)||Doctor: Dr. Saifuddin Sidek||Telephone: 6787 8863 / 9028 2668
Email: [email protected]
|W GYNAE Women’s Clinic||Private||$1500 onwards (uncomplicated procedure) / around $3500 – $4500 (14-24 weeks)||Doctor: Dr. Ben Choey Wei Yen||Telephone: 6455 0050 (to make an appointment)
Hotline: 6535 8833
Email: [email protected]
|Bishan 8 Clinic for Women||Private||Consultation: $100, Scan: $100. Rates from $1,000 to $2,000 for first trimester.||Doctors: Dr. Vincent Lee Yun Tshan / Dr. Ho Kok Kee / Dr. Chen Sze Hua||Telephone: 6250 0055|
|Singapore Women's Clinic||Private||From $800 (all inclusive of consultations scan, medication, anaesthesia and surgery) for pregnancies under 8 weeks.)||Doctor: Dr. Loke Kah Leong||Address: Blk 821 Tampines Street 81, #01-216, Singapore 520821
Telephone: 6786 3188
Email: [email protected]
Subsidies For Abortion
To mitigate the cost of abortion, especially for teenagers and students who are pregnant, there are subsidies available to help:
You can use between $900 – $1050 from your Medisave. You will need to show your NRIC at the clinic for the staffs to process the claim.
Public Or Private Hospitals? Here’s What You Should Consider.
Cost vs Waiting Time
In general, public hospitals will be cheaper than private ones. However, the cost of termination of pregnancy is greatly dependent on which trimester you’re in, and how old the fetus is. Sometimes, going for an abortion procedure through a public hospital will result in a longer waiting time, which may also result in higher costs.
Of course, it is a misconception to assume that public hospitals always require a long waiting period. This may not be true, and it can vary in different circumstances. Book an appointment with them to find out more about their availability.
An affordable way to go about getting an abortion is to first go to a polyclinic for a referral. In this case, you will be able to obtain subsidies, that will result in a lower treatment cost. You can also use your MediSave will also help you mitigate the cost of an abortion.
Some Tips & Advice From The People Who’ve Been Through The Process
Through the process of writing this article, I interviewed 2 women who have been through the process of abortion. One was a girl who went for an abortion due to an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager and who had to keep it a secret from her family, while the other is happily married, but has no intention of having a child. Here are some practical tips they’d like to give, to girls going through a similar situation as they did.
On The Procedure
- Always get a referral from a polyclinic before going to the hospital for an abortion. This helps reduce the overall cost.
- For early-stage abortion, it usually takes about a day of your time for the entire procedure, so do allocate enough time for your visit.
- It is most ideal if you are accompanied by a friend. After the abortion procedure, you may feel nauseous or sleepy due to the anesthetics that were being administrated
- Not all hospitals (private or public) are the same: in terms of their service, cost, and nature of their counselling sessions. Take the extra step to find out more about how each hospital functions and their services by hearing personal experiences and recommendations from friends, forums, or discussion pages.
- If you don’t want to have children, do more research on the different birth control and contraception available and settle on one that’s most suitable for you.
- Know what you want before going into the counselling room. While there are many professional counsellors, I have heard of instances where counsellors guilt trip their patients in ‘taking the life’ of a child as well. Make sure you think this decision through thoroughly. Don’t let anyone force you into keeping a child that you don’t want. At the same time, don’t ever believe that you have no other choice, but to abort, and that abortion is your ‘only’ option. You always have a choice, whether to keep the child, or to give it up.
On Getting Help And Support
- Getting pregnant before marriage is still a huge stigma in Singapore society, making it hard to get help, even from the people who are closest to you. In any case, when you feel alone and need help, the people at Babes (under 21) and AWARE will guide you through the process.
If You Need To Talk Things Through, Here Are Some Help You Can Get
Pregnant women should seek medical assistance and not self-medicate or turn to folk remedies (e.g. eating pineapple) in order to terminate a pregnancy.
Babes offers a helpline, an online chat application, or an in-person meeting with information about various options available to prepare a pregnant woman under the age of 21 to make an informed decision. Once she has made a decision, Babes provides essential support and links to the appropriate resources.
You can also seek help on AWARE’s women’s helpline. The Women’s Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 1800 777 5555 to speak to a Helpliner if you are facing a problem or want to find out more about our services. Here’s more info on AWARE’s Legal Clinic.