New Abortion Law
Utah has passed a law requiring doctors to provide anesthesia to women having abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later. The law is meant to protect fetuses from feeling pain during the procedure, which some scientists believe is possible, and which lawmakers feel is inhumane. Laws like this that make abortions after 20 weeks less accessible have become more common in state legislatures.
God, you are the giver of all life. We ask that as our lawmakers seek the flourishing of our nation, they would seek the flourishing of every life created in your image, both born and unborn. We ask that the laws enacted in our country would protect the lives of unborn children, cultivate the thriving of women and families, and create communities characterized by justice and equity.
Blocking Migrant Education
This week it was revealed that hundreds of unaccompanied children fleeing violence from Central America have been prevented from enrolling in U.S. public schools in 14 states. This is illegal. Undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers are by law allowed to access only two public benefits: public education and emergency health care. Some schools have also pressured students to enroll in adult education courses rather than enrolling them in school, which also violates federal law — by presenting a separate but unequal alternative.
Lord, for children who have escaped desperate situations and who long for a future, we lift our prayers. For educators who attempt to meet the diverse and pressing needs of so many students with limited budgets, we lift our prayers. For lawyers and advocates who hold the system accountable to upholding justice, we lift our prayers.
The Situation in Iraq
A week ago Iraq suspended its Parliament indefinitely after the speaker was voted out. Mass protests over government failures and corruption were initiated by followers of the Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr. Last weekend, protesters stormed the protected zone that houses the Iraqi Parliament — they have since been dispersed, but al-Sadr has called for renewed protests tomorrow and for the resignation of Iraq’s president, prime minister, and Parliament speaker. The Iraqi government pulled a small number of troops out of the conflict with ISIS to deal with the situation. Unrest in Iraq has benefited ISIS and has made it difficult for countries to partner with the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS.
God, we lift our prayers for Iraq, which has been so devastated by violence for so many years. We lament the role that the U.S. and Canadian governments have played in causing upheaval there. We are fearful for the future of the region and of the violence caused by ISIS. We lift our prayers for peace, order, justice, and upright leadership for Iraq.
Refugees in Detention Centers
Detention centers are used as a way for countries (including the U.S. and Canada) to deter migrants who are seeking asylum, despite international law which obligates the acceptance of asylum seekers. Often such detention centers are sites of serious human rights violations. This week, two asylum seekers in an Australian offshore detention center set themselves on fire to protest their treatment. In the U.S. the largest detention center for children and families seeking asylum from violence in Central America just received a childcare license — which will help ensure that it stays open.
God, we pray for lawmakers who aim to streamline the asylum process so that people fleeing persecution in their home countries no longer face further trauma upon arrival in a safe place. We pray for children, families, and individuals who are languishing behind bars -- bring hope and justice for them.