According to AWARE Singapore, foreigners can only get an abortion in Singapore if they meet certain conditions:

Foreigners are only eligible for abortion in Singapore if they meet one of the four conditions below:

  • They have been residing in Singapore for 4 months or more; or
  • They are married to a Singapore citizen or have PR status; or
  • They hold or are the wife of a holder of a work permit pass (not a temporary work permit) or employment pass; or
  • An abortion is immediately necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.


Section 3 of the Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1974: says getting an abortion as an unqualified foreigner is a crime punishable by a:

fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both

Why does Singapore do this?

  • @divibisan Section 3 of the Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1974: sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/TPA1974
    – Joe C
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 20:38
  • 10
    While I can't find anything to back this up (which is why I'm not posting this as an answer), my guess would be to prevent Singapore becoming a destination for "abortion tourism". Abortion on demand is illegal in several countries in South East Asia.
    – Joe C
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 20:47
  • 5
    It is certainly to prevent people travelling to Singapore for the purpose of a termination, especially from Malaysia. There is a deeper question of why the government would want to stop this, as Singapore hospitals have been successful as destination of other kinds of medical tourism.
    – James K
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 21:20
  • 3
    I would guess so my self. What's the point of doing so? Does Singapore want to maintain good relationship with other neighboring countries that opposes abortion?
    – user4951
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 23:40

2 Answers 2


The comments are correct that this was aimed at preventing "abortion tourism".

According to Population Policies and Programmes in Singapore: 2nd edition by Saw Swee-Hock, the citizenship/residency requirements were introduced in the original 1969 Abortion Act and carried over to the 1974 Act:

The original safeguard in respect of Singapore citizenship or four-month residential requirements, designed to prevent Singapore from becoming the abortion centre in Southeast Asia, had been retained in the Act.

With a footnote:

However, according to a report in the New Nation, 28 November 1975, some pregnant foreign women, especially Malaysians, came to Singapore to obtain quick and easy abortions from private clinics without signing any official document and without satisfying the Singapore citizenship or four-month residential requirement. The women, who could not obtain legal abortions in their own countries, might be asked to sign a note stating they had come for "vaginal bleeding"

  • The question remains, why do they want to prevent “abortion tourism”? If abortion is allowed to Singaporeans, they presumably don't consider it immoral.
    – kami
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 0:38
  • 2
    Non sequitur - it is obviously possible to believe that abortion is immoral yet realise that women in a very difficult situation will try to have an abortion and shouldn’t be punished for it. But there is no good reason to allow abortions for foreigners, let them have an abortion in their own country.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 16:42
  • 1
    @michau This decision is probably to maintain relations with other countries who might not agree with them. This rule is potentially a nice way to save face when dealing with such countries. Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 11:07

I think you answered your own question in one of your comments. The most likely reason indeed seems to me that Singapore wanted to keep good relations with Malaysia. Malaysia probably could live with the fact of women in a neighbouring country getting abortions but not with "their own women" getting abortions there.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .