SINGAPORE: Newly—elected opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Li Lian focused her maiden speech on Singapore’s declining total fertility rate (TFR).
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the Workers’ Party’s MP said that without tackling the TFR directly, Singapore would have to continue increasing the population with immigrants.
Besides the billions spent on baby bonuses, she said, the government can also support those on the margins of society like single mothers.
"Singapore sees an average of 12,000 abortions a year and four out of 10 women who went for abortions were single women," said the MP for Punggol East.
"Reducing the discrimination against single mothers may reduce the likelihood of single mothers having to resort to terminating their pregnancies for fear of lack of support. Furthermore, for a country suffering from a fertility crisis, each child should be valued and not punished because he or she is born to unmarried parents," she added.
Ms Lee also said: "Many women also feel that even before they have had their babies, they may be stigmatised by the employers. Many tend to immediately cast doubts over whether a woman can have children and also balance a high demanding career.
"I know this from my own personal experience. Just recently, during the by—election campaign, many were asking whether it would be possible for me to be an MP and have children at the same time?
"I can imagine many people face the anxiety of whether their bosses feel the same way and consider them a liability if they were to become pregnant and whether they would be able to come back easily, after a long period of leave taken to stay at home with their children."
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