A forum letter writer has pointed out that the Government’s stance on voting is at odds with its policies on abortion, since the Government feels Singaporeans under the age of 21 may not be mature enough to make big decisions like voting while there is no minimum age to get an abortion.
Earlier this month, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing revealed that the Government has no plans to lower the current voting age of 21 and above to 18 and above. He explained that the current age remains the appropriate age for Singaporeans to make decisions and engage in “activities that involve significant personal responsibility.”
Asserting that the Government takes a “a graduated approach” in setting the legal ages “at which a person can undertake different responsibilities in Singapore,” Mr Chan said in a written reply: “A person’s rights and responsibilities gradually increase as one matures until the common law age of majority of 21.”
These rights and responsibilities include voting in elections to select MPs and the President, which Mr Chan called “serious choices” that necessitate “experience and maturity.”
In a forum letter published by Today last Thursday (15 Aug), Zhang Jieqiang pointed out that “the Government’s approach to voting is at odds with its position on abortion.”
Under Singapore’s Termination of Pregnancy Act, there is no legal minimum age for those seeking an abortion and there is no need for any youth to seek parental consent to undergo an abortion. Mr Zhang wrote:
“It is inconsistent that, by law, a person below 21 years old cannot vote or consent to marry; a person under 19 cannot buy cigarettes; an under-18 cannot consume alcohol; and a person younger than 16 cannot consent to sex. But a person, regardless of age, may seek an abortion.”
Noting that the youngest girl to have had an abortion in Singapore was 13 years old, Mr Zhang pointed out that a 13-year-old is considered not matured enough to consent to sex, buy cigarettes or alcohol or vote but she is considered matured enough to have an abortion. He said:
“If a person below certain ages is not considered mature enough to make informed decisions to vote, marry, buy cigarettes and alcohol, or have sex, does it not logically follow that there should be a minimum legal age for abortion?
“It is, after all, a choice that has significant consequences for the person seeking it and those around her.”
Asserting that “abortion is a serious choice involving significant responsibility, experience and maturity,” Mr Zhang called on the Government to review the Termination of Pregnancy Act and remain consistent in its approach to protecting Singapore youth from “all life-altering activities — including abortion — on which they may not be able to make informed and mature decisions.” -/TISG
Read his letter in full HERE.
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