Voices

Provide support, comfort to all women mulling over abortion

From

Shelen Ang, Head, Research & Development, Focus on the Family Singapore

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Published: 4:02 AM, December 6, 2014

The Health Ministry is considering extending pre-abortion counselling to all women. We support the opinion that it should be mandatory for all, regardless of citizenship, education level or number of children born to the woman.

The consequences of abortion are not limited to only certain groups of women, but affect all women and can even extend to members of the immediate family.

Abortion can have significant and ongoing emotional and physical consequences for a woman, so those considering ending their pregnancy deserve to receive information about the process and potential impact it may have on them before making their decision.

Abortion can cause both short-term and long-term physical complications, including significantly affecting a woman’s ability to have healthy pregnancies in future. And research has found that undergoing an abortion can have long-term psychological effects.

A comprehensive long-term study by a New Zealand research team, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that abortion in young women may be associated with increased risks of depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviours and substance dependence.

Research has also identified post-abortion syndrome as a subset of post-traumatic stress disorder. Pre-abortion counselling must thus address relational issues to prevent emotional trauma, especially if the woman’s abortion decision seems circumstantially inevitable.

Abortion can pose challenges to significant relationships in the woman’s life, not only with her partner but also her future children, possibly due to post-abortion depression and guilt.

As abortion is not only a medical issue, pre-abortion counselling must encompass more than an explanation of medical procedures, potential risks and after-effects.

Every woman contemplating abortion must be provided with all the necessary information and clear explanations of the risks involved, channels of support, including social services, and other options she has. This will empower her to make informed decisions regarding her unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancy that will affect her life as well as the lives of her current and future family members.