* The French government says it will consider amending the country’s abortion laws following the release of a government-commissioned report to allow pro-born babies to be killed up to 12 weeks of age instead of 10 and to permit children to procure abortions without seeking the permission of their parents. The reforms are allegedly intended to bring France’s abortion laws in line with those of most other European nations.  (Los Angeles Times)

* In a civil case, a jury has found East Stroudsburg School District guilty of violating the Fourth Amendment rights of 50 sixth-grade girls for forcing them to undergo genital examinations without parental consent (and, in at least one case, in violation of the stated opposition of parents). “The judge and the jury have sided with common sense by condemning this kind of unconscionable abuse against students,” said John Whitehead, president of the pro-family legal organization, The Rutherford Institute.

* A symposium on “The Beginning of Life, Science and Ethics,” will be held in Valencia, Spain,  from November 11-13, reported Zenit news last week. The meeting is being organized by the John Paul II Pontifical Institute, the Pontifical Lateran University, and the Archdiocese of Valencia’s Commission for Family and Life. It will address a variety of reproductive technologies, including assisted procreation, cloning, embryo experimentation, and pharmacological abortion. For more information, contact Justo Aznar Lucea at [email protected]

* Following on the heels of Cairo+5, the 5-year review of the international population agreement, the UN is beginning preparatory meetings for a 5-year review of the equally controversial agreement on women, reported the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute last week. Four years ago the UN held the Beijing conference on women, in which Canada played a leading role in the advancement of a radical feminist agenda. Many of the feminist goals,  including abortion rights, were thwarted by pro-family organizations which will likely have to re-fight many of the same battles in regional meetings culiminating in the final Beijing+5 session scheduled for June 5 – 9 next year.

* On August 1 the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City “began a campaign to collect 4.5 million signatures to request that Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo give the right to life from the moment of conception Constitutional status,” reported Zenit news yesterday. Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said that although the Constitution guarantees the right to life, the church wants the Constitution to state specifically that life is guaranteed from the moment of conception.

* The National Post reported today that the average age of girls being recruited for prostitution in the Kelowna B.C. area has been dropping from 13 years to as young as nine.