Date: Sat, 2 May 2009 00:13:27 +0800
Local: Sat, May 2 2009 12:13 am
Subject: 12,000 babies legally murdered by Singapore's by-laws...
EVERY night for a week, Ms Mazlinda Majlam had the same nightmare.
'It's a silhouette of a baby sitting down, and he will just be looking at me. The baby has no eyes, but he will be looking at me,' she said.
The horrifying dreams began in April, the night she returned home from having an abortion - two months after she was retrenched as a result of Singapore's worst recession in more than 40 years.
The mother of three said 'bad economic times' prompted her to terminate the pregnancy and she would not hesitate to have another abortion if necessary.
'I can't afford it,' said the tall, slim Majlam of the prospect of having another child soon.
Despite a national campaign to boost the birthrate, Singapore has one of Asia's most liberal abortion policies and the global financial crisis could be prompting more women to terminate pregnancies.
A Ministry of Health spokesman said there were 12,222 abortions in the country last year, compared to 11,933 in 2007. No official figures are available for 2009.
Gynaecologist Saifuddin Sidek said his private practice had recorded a 20 per cent rise in abortion patients so far this year compared with the same period last year.
'A lot of them are because of the current economic climate,' he said. 'No matter what incentives the government gives, (parents) may find it a bit hard to make ends meet, especially if they already have more than (one or) two children.'
Government figures show 39,935 babies delivered in 2008, well below the 60,000 Singapore needs just to maintain its native population. With abortion figures rising amid anecdotal evidence that the economic downturn is a contributing factor, Singapore's efforts to encourage couples to have more babies, including financial perks, could be derailed. --AFP