Abortion counselling — What’s wrong with it
There’s nothing wrong with abortion counselling per se. Done well, I think it’s necessary.
What’s wrong is just the way we’re doing it here in Sg, going by this Asiaone article
And here’s the list of what i think is wrong. Do add on if i’ve left out any.
There is mandatory pre-abortion counselling if the women are Singapore citizens or permanent residents; have passed the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE); have at least some secondary education, and have fewer than three children.
There is no counselling for foreigners, rape victims or Singaporeans with three or more children, and those who have not passed the PSLE. If they seek an abortion, they get it right away.
Those who are counselled watch an abortion-counselling video entitled Abortion – Consider With Care, which tells them about the procedure and its implications.
They are also given pamphlets to read on the topics: The Truth About Abortion and Contraceptive Methods – Which One Is Best For Me.
Judging from the above criteria
Certain types of children (those with educated, Singaporean/PR mothers who haven’t fulfilled their duty of having 3 kids) are preferred. The rest can, literally, go and die. If this is not eugenics, what is this?
One common argument is that certain families are in the position to provide better care and hence a better future for their children. Eg. Educated mothers (strange , but i wonder : if the father is a freaking genius with multiple PhDs , would they then counsel the mother if she’s got no education??)
This argument brings me to my next few points
You don’t need to be fantastically educated to be a good parent. Having money/no money doesn’t make you a good/bad parent. Surely this doesn’t need elaborating?
However, it is true that if you are well-educated, you have a much better chance of providing your child with more resources to help him/her succeed. Eg. elite pre-schools & loads of tuition.
Why aren’t our tax money and State resources more equally distributed to give every child a level playing field and a fair chance at succeeding in life? Isn’t that part of our much beloved meritocracy, where you succeed based on your merit, not on the amount of money your parents have?
Why aren’t we helping our families-in-need cope better? Why is abortion subtly encouraged as a solution? “The biggest group of abortions, 44.1 per cent, involved women with secondary, O-level or Institute of Technical Education education. Many said they could not afford to have the baby.”
They make it seem as if an increasing number of educated women are aborting their babies (Do you hear them saying “Tsk tsk, all these selfish women are more interested in making money and sacrificing their babies to do that?”)
“In 2011, 36.3 per cent of all abortions involved university or polytechnic graduates – more than double the 15.6 per cent in 2003.”
What the article doesn’t state is that the proportion of women with university or polytechnic qualification has tremendously jumped. Going by the Census2010, 74% of women 25-29yr old have poly or uni qualification, compared to 40% of 40-44yr old women. Obviously if we are having a greater proportion of educated women, there’ll be a corresponding increase in the demographics of women undergoing abortions?
Scarily, some people still believe that smart moms pass on smart genes to their babies. A belief that supposedly justified the Graduate-moms-should-have-more-babies policies in the 80s. This is way more mythical than Santa Claus, the Lochness Monster and aliens combined. I’d rather believe in Santa Claus and aliens. (Yes, I know I’m not providing very logical arguments here, but I honestly can’t be bothered to, when you can simply google “do smart moms pass smart genes to babies?” )
Granted, community help groups in Singapore do see a disproportionate proportion of dysfunctional families with too many kids and not enough education. Like, WAY to many kids. How does our policy of mandating contraceptive education (part of counselling) for those with LESS than 3 kids but NOT for those with MORE than 3 kids help? Isn’t this the best opportunity to provide contraceptive education ??!!! Often, the woman KNOWS that she has way too many kids than what the family can afford. The thing is, having too many kids is sometimes a symptom of much bigger problems —- her inability to negotiate and stand up to unreasonable demands from her husband , for example. It’s a marvelous opportunity to help the woman and her family in a holistic way, and to prevent other problems from happening. But these women are simply given the abortion, no questions asked, no counselling provided, it seems.
I chanced upon this comment on a public Facebook page, “ 7yrs ago wen i found out i was pregnant ,WITHOUT MY OPINION, i was refer for a abortion due to my marital statues… thinking back now i know the reason, being a unwed mother is a disadvantage in our government policy.. their policy indirectly indicating to abort or give ur unborn child for adoption.. if one wants to bring up their unborn child its gonna be a tougher obstacles when it comes to chilcare leave to housing… ect..ect btw my unborn child is now a healthy 7yrs old… im celebrating motherhood every moment of my life im glad ive make a right decision to be a mother…” (Caps mine)
Supporting legal abortions doesn’t make one Pro-Choice, not when the woman’s opinion isn’t even sought and the decision made on her behalf. This applies to every other group of women who are automatically channeled for the abortion without counselling. Women with lower education are more vulnerable to begin with, and may have been pressured by family/relatives to undergo the abortion, when she herself might not want to. Her ability and power to negotiate with her family may be non-existant. Without a proper counselling process, how do the doctors know that this is truly her wish?
Considering how abortions are, at the end of the day, medical procedures , a patient’s understanding of the possible side effects, known consequences and alternatives are important for the patient to make informed decisions. Women with lower education are at greater risk of not understanding such information, since they may lack the access or ability to fully understand publicly available information. This means that it is particularly important that these vulnerable women be provided the necessary information before undergoing the medical procedure. Ironically, these women are “spared” the mandatory counselling
I’ve not had the opportunity to find out details of what the counselling really entails, but going by anecdotal stories and by their inclusion criteria, it’s very believable that the “counselling” is really an unethical effort t guilt-tripping these women during this emotionally-trying period of their life. Really, these women need support, regardless of the choices available to them. Not more guilt, on top of what they might already be feeling.
So it seems apparent that the State is trying to persuade women to hang on to “unwanted” babies, in an attempt to up our TFR. Multiple studies have shown that women know when an environment or situation is bad for bringing up babies, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea upping the TFR within such environments, by inducing guilt. Since many married women give up their pregnancy because they “cannot afford it”, I honestly wonder if part of the counselling package also includes financial assistance to help the mother. That would at least be a tad more sincere, and the least the State could do while they are benefitting from the TFR. I doubt so though. I’ve long been a strong proponent of comprehensive sexuality education, where we teach girls (while you still can catch them in school) contraceptive methods, and skills to negotiate for the use of contraception within a relationship. I strongly believe that prevention is better than cure , and that we should be PREVENTING women from even getting an unwanted pregnancy and having to make the painful decision of whether to keep the pregnancy. Having ineffective sexuality education increases unwanted pregnancies both within and outside of marriage, and these pregnancies are not the way to increase our TFR
- Crap #11
The most vulnerable group. A group that not only gets insufficient support and counselling, but often are pressured by both law, employers, and their need of a job to undergo abortion. Seeing as many domestic workers here are either Muslim or Catholic, I’m wondering why the religious conservatives aren’t crying bloody murder and demanding the laws be changed. I’d have thought they would, after how they hijacked ESM Goh’s walk to make their political statement. I think it might be because too many of them have maids themselves.
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