Canberra, Australia - Prime Minister Rudd responded today to the storm of criticism that Australia has received for permitting a 16 year old girl to sail alone around the world.
"Well, while we don't like to speak of it, abortions in Australia are legal until the 71st trimester, which after nine months of what we down under call an 'internal pregnancy' is an additional 17 years.", said the PM today. "Up until then, parents may abort the non-adult mass. Frankly we found that after that 17 year period, most parents desired to have that choice."
Legal experts confirm this, though say that there are various guidelines and exceptions. While acids and suction devices are permitted until five years out of the womb, after that, a sporting chance must be given to the non-adult mass so as to determine "viability".
"One can't just shoot the thing! We're a civilized nation! But if the non-adult mass can't survive a proper test, then it wasn't meant to be. And if it does, it must then be allowed to live until term, where it can be adopted by our dole system.", said Paul Hogan, Australia's foremost barrister.
As it has been estimated that there were no less then 58,000 child abuse and neglect incidents in Australia last year, this is an important point. Determining when it's abuse and when it's abortion is a serious business. For instance, it is prohibited to simply lock the non-adult mass in a closet and see if it's viable enough to live without food and water. That's abuse, as there is no "win" available.
But if one puts the same non-adult mass on a boat all by itself to see if it can make the voyage that killed thousands of the finest sailors of every sea-faring nation on Earth, then that is simply testing for viability, as obviously there's at least a one out of a thousand chance of it avoiding storms, exposure, loneliness, pirates, drug runners, freezing cold weather, rogue naval ships and hurricanes. If it then fails though, that's abortion.
Parents of the 16 year old non-adult mass in question (which ultrasounds show to be female if it survives to term) insist that their viability test is nothing but fair. "While we have told it that it can't have assistance, we are permitting it to stop off in various safe harbors, from the Phillipines to North Korea, Thailand to Sudan, Sierra Leone to Belize.", said the expectant father to be. "Besides, it's no one's business but my wife's. We believe in choice here in Australia. No one should have to carry a teen to term against their will."
Australia is not the only nation to permit After Birth abortions, though 71 trimesters is the longest. By contrast, Holland only allows the mother to abort up until the 55th trimester, so when parents to be there tried to send their just born 13 year old on the same voyage, they were stopped.
While few other western democracies allow such periods, most prefering to deny women their choice after but three trimesters, many in those nations long for what is coming to be known as the "Australian Solution". The United States organizations of Planned Parenthood and NOW both lobby Congress to give more choice to mothers.
Meanwhile, the world is awaiting to see whether this 16 year old is a child or a choice. Time - and the weather, it's skills and it's luck in avoiding bandits - will tell.