Tuesday, February 24, 2015

“We came here for a reason” – what Rebecca Frech's friend wishes you knew

What one Muslim-American history prof would like Catholics to know.

And yes, I know Protestants suffered under Elizabeth I's sister Mary and I know Jews suffered under Christians of all persuasions. I just think that my own religious  siblings should remember that we've been hated & feared in America also. I have had an appreciation of Islam since I did a report on it in 8th grade. In the rush to communicate to sleepyheads and naive people about the very real dangers of ISIS, my fellow American Catholics need to understand and respect ordinary, non-apocalyptic Muslims. ISIS' threat is like if Jim Jones had attained the power to carry out his vision of Christianity. It's aberrational. If our response is to insist that it's growth is an inevitable result of the " inherent vice" of Islam itself, we will drive more crazies into its fold.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Open letter to all the Big Damn Heroes of the Internet

Dear Catholics, Big Damn Heroes, and Other White Hats of the Blogosphere,

           How would you like to participate in a stunt that, if it comes off, will REALLY piss the heck out of the folks who profit from abortion, like Planned Parenthood and their kin?

My name is Rae Stabosz. Some of you know me. Most of you don’t. I would like to interrupt your kitten videos, your reddit snark and your all-purpose interwebs fun and bring you a bold display of naked desperation.

You don’t have to label yourself “pro-life”. Labels can sound like polemic. This is a non-political stunt for anybody who holds to this equal care principle: in an unwanted pregnancy, both the pregnant woman AND her unborn child deserve equal respect and care.

            Here’s the stunt:

Between now and Sunday, November 30 – we internet White Hats will pool our resources and fund a SINGLE mobile pregnancy center equipped with ultrasound!

·       It will be beautifully appointed and staffed by professionals; it will park outside of abortion clinics in Delaware and offer FREE ULTRASOUND, FREE PREGNANCY TESTING and FREE COUNSELING to women in crisis.

·       It will also park at fairs, church festivals, and other happy community events, educating the public to the marvels of ultrasound technology and what it shows of intrauterine development.

·       All we want to build the bus and put it on the road is $120,000 in capital expenses. We will get the operating expenses on our own! (there’s a reason for that).

We only need 4800 heroes to donate $25 each!  More than that, and we give it away!

                You may have heard of Save the Storks, the national organization founded by Joe Baker in 2011. Save the Storks is taking the country by storm. Its mission is “to equip pregnancy centers to more effectively connect with abortion-vulnerable women ... by providing Stork Buses — mobile medical units — so that pregnancy centers can offer free sonograms and pregnancy tests wherever women need them.”

                Two months ago, an eclectic group representing two of the three counties of Delaware founded the Delaware Stork Bus, Inc. Our intention is to carry out the Save the Storks vision in Delaware. We have signed a contract with Joe and Co.  We are ready to rumble. And we want your help.

BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT... I can hear you say.

·         “Why should I help you?  Aren’t there other groups in the country trying to get a Stork Bus off the ground?”

·         “I live in Kokomo, Indiana, home of the Kokomo Mantis. Why should I care about little Delaware?”

Fair enough. Here’s where “stunt” part comes in.  I DO live in Delaware, and I DO want to pull out all the stops to get this Stork Bus up and running. I freely admit that it is self-serving.

But if the stunt takes off we could scare the pants off of Planned Parenthood and fund more than just one little Delaware bus!

 “For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light, “ Jesus tells us in the gospel of Luke.  And isn’t it the truth? 

No Stork Bus project has used crowd funding to our knowledge, and we hope to establish a precedent.  The secular world has been a lot quicker to harness the power of crowd sourcing than we have been.  Witness the success of the ALS Bucket challenge. In two weeks’ time it made four million dollars for the ALS Association and its 38 chapters. It did this by harnessing the power of social media and the fun of seeing people (especially celebrities) have buckets of ice dumped on one another.

Yet the ALS Association supports using human embryos for stem cell research, and so Catholics and others were not able to embrace this as readily as some.

$120,000 is just 4800 donors giving $25 each. What if the White Hat blogosphere gives more?? 

Here is the deal, and it’s a good one:

If we raise more than $120,000 between now and the end of November, we will give 100% of all additional monies collected to the national Save the Storks project!

That’s right! We are not greedy. This is our first fundraiser, and we are targeting our capital expenses only.  We will trust in our fundraising acumen to raise the first three year’s operating expenses on our own. We came up with this stunt not just for Delaware Stork Bus, but for all of us.We want to show the abortion industry that we can get a fully-outfitted Stork Bus on the road in a little more than two-months time. That will have them shaking in their stylish yet affordable boots!

But we don’t want this to be a Zero Sum Game.  If YOU give to US, we don’t want you to worry that other Stork Buses will suffer.

Save the Storks gives grant money as part of its mission. So if our little stunt goes anywhere, and we collect any extra we make above our capital goal of $120,000, we will give the rest to Joe and his good people to give in grants as they see fit.

Most of you don’t know me from Eve, even though I’ve been an internet presence since before there was an Internet! (international PLATO system in the late 70’s, anyone?) I have left a 20+ years trail on the Internet.  Look me up and see if I seem trustworthy.

Look our entire Board of Directors up! You’ll find some surprises!

Yes, you will find that we have paid our dues. We are trustworthy.  Children of light: allons-y!  No need to be less sensible than the children of the world!

Rae Stabosz, with the Delaware Stork Bus Board of Directors:
Evelyn Baldwin
Susan Bullock
Nicole Collins
Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich
Ed Taubert
Tim Werbrich

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Baring my all for the Delaware Stork Bus

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that I have labored for years to figure out how persons of good will from both sides of the abortion debate could work together to offer non-partisan, non-judgmental help to women who are experiencing unwanted pregnancy. It's no secret that I think that abortion is a tragedy. It is a unique instance of an injustice perpetrated against one class of human beings - gestating humans -- by a class that by all rights should be their greatest protectors -- their pregnant mothers. Even writing that sentence, I am no doubt alienating folks on both sides of the social issue.

I have put myself on the front lines of this social issue because while none of us can eliminate all the injustices in the world, we can each spend some of our “time, talent and treasure” trying to restore justice and balance to at least one upended aspect of human and social living. 

Being on the front lines has cost me a lot. I have recently, through the help of my husband and other concerned loved ones, come to realize that I do not have the constitution for conflict. People are often surprised to hear that I am an introvert.  That may be because I do have a great love for a great number of individual human beings, as well as a heart that aches for how much it longs to exchange love with greater and greater numbers of the fascinating and lovable women and men who share this earth with me. I love people in all their variety, with all their flaws. That's the simple truth.

But the social activism I have done since I retired from the University of Delaware eight years ago has lead me into conflicts I could never have imagined -- conflicts with both "friend and foe."  And I am constitutionally not built to handle it without damage to myself. And so I am in the process of retiring from social activism. I want to spend my remaining years taking care of my own health and being involved in "family activism" -- I want to be the wife, mother and grandmother that my large and wonderful family deserve.

But I want to leave a legacy. And the Delaware Stork Bus has all the markings of that legacy. I am working with some good people whose interest is in equal care and respect for women AND their unborn children in a crisis pregnancy situation.

We have incorporated as a non-profit organization, Delaware Stork Bus, Inc., and are in the process of applying for 501c3 tax-exempt status.  We have signed a contract with the national Save the Storks organization that has pioneered these small, mobile units across the nation. We have a small seeding of donor money, and the hope that this is an idea whose time has come in Delaware.

We are launching a GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign to use social media to spread the word and find donors for this very good cause.

We want to bring a mobile pregnancy center to Delaware. We want to travel the three counties of Delaware offering free ultrasound, free pregnancy testing, free counseling, and free resource referral. We want to use it also as a traveling educational van, a presence at state fairs, festivals and community events.  We want to gain the trust of all people of good will who are interested in women's and children's health, beyond the conflicts and confines imposed on women by the social issue of abortion.

The Delaware Stork Bus will be a warm, supportive environment where pregnancy is neither sentimentalized, nor feared, nor despised. It will be a safe haven for women to relax, be tested and scanned, speak freely to professionals, ask questions, and receive information. Above all, it will be a space where women can be authentically themselves – respected and free from societal pressure -- as they work out this crisis in their lives.

Some of you may be surprised to hear that after all the years of laboring to make this happen, I am not taking a leadership role in the Delaware Stork Bus. I stepped down a few months ago to attend to my own health. There is a time for leading, and a time for relinquishing the reins. I remain on the Board and am pleased as punch to be a "Go-fer" and a "Do-er" and a willing “foot soldier” to the leadership I helped to recruit.

I hope you will consider supporting us. Click here to go to our GoFundMe donors page.   From there you can make a donation of any size. From there you can also spread the news of the Delaware Stork Bus by email, Facebook and Twitter.

Many of you have wanted to support an effort like this in Delaware. Help us make it happen!


A “crowd funding” campaign like this one depends on a “crowd of donors” each contributing a modest amount rather than a few large foundations or private donors each making a substantial contribution.  If you want to help with a donation of any size but need more information, please contact me atrstabosz@gmail.com or 302-731-7692.  I would be happy to show you our business plan, our three-year budget, and show you the list of existing pregnancy centers and community organizations with whom we are establishing connections. I will answer any questions you might have about the long-term viability and goals of the Delaware Stork Bus.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stock Market Education: Learning thinkorswim

So I haven't blogged in ages but I am going to start reporting on my education in stock trading. I've only been trading actively since 2008 when stocks fell and it became cheap to buy stocks and start learning the ropes. Tim Stabosz, my nephew, has been a big help. I trade on TD Ameritrade and recently began using their thinkorswim platform.  I seem to have reached a new plateau in my understanding of the arcane world of the stock market. I only trade equities.

I'm going to start documenting my self-education, so I'll have a place to refer to when I forget how to do stuff.

The thinkorswim Learning Center has a wealth of information but boy is it hard to figure out where a newbie should start. HOME shows you the latest tutorial videos, and these are not in any particularly logical order, plus they do not start with the basics. I needed to figure out just how to find the same information on thinkorswim that I find on the regular TD Ameritrade platform.

HOME / Videos and Articles / Topics / ALL  : this is a good place to start.  The first video teaches you the basic Monitor view of your portfolio.  One thing I wanted to figure out was how to see my past history of trades.  Do this by putting in a stock ticker at the field under Monitor/Activity and Positions, then go over to the right on that same field line to select up to the last 30 days by the "today for" button, or "change dates viewed" for a longer time period.  Click "reset" to go back to today's.

Questions I want answered as I learn:

1. how can I make a pie chart of the equities I hold divided by sectors, so I can see if my portfolio is balanced by sector?

2. how can I see all the dividends I've collected in a given time period? I know how to do that easily in the regular platform, how about here?

3. what are all the things that folks use watchlists for?  I use them but I think not to the max.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Delaware Legislators Hold Second Hearing on Planned Parenthood of Delaware

For immediate release
From: Rae Stabosz
Contact: rstabosz@gmail.com, 302-731-7692 H, 302-391-0727 C

Planned Parenthood of Delaware Under the Microscope
Bipartisan Hearing of the Delaware General Assembly
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Tuesday, July 30th at 11:00 AM
Free and open to the public

Newark, DE. July 29, 2013

Two whistle-blowers will continue the investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood of Delaware that lead to multiple 911 emergency transfers to hospitals in the 2012-2013 time period.

The former manager of Planned Parenthood’s family planning services will testify about her experiences there. A former Planned Parenthood employee will testify about the state’s failure to protect women for over a year after she came forward to report the risks to women.
Dr. Timothy Liveright, who performed abortions at Planned Parenthood in
Wilmington and Dover, has been charged by Attorney General Beau Biden for
being a “clear and immediate danger to the public.” In addition, two nurses and a former manager of Family Planning at Planned Parenthood have testified that Planned Parenthood had a host of other problems. These included:
• using improperly sterilized and potentially contaminated needles and instruments
on patients
• requiring patients to lie down on operating tables still bloody from prior patients
• sending five women to the emergency room in the first half of this year
• failing to notify over 80 women who received colposcopies (a test for cervical
cancer) of the results of the test
• failing to notify in a timely way over 200 women who tested positive for chlamydia
and/or gonorrhea that they needed treatment—in some cases the patients were
notified months late; some were never notified at all
• failing to have a system in place for notifying women that they had an abnormal
breast exam
• failing to give poor women who have a special blood type (Rh negative) the drug Rho-
GAM, which must be given within 72 hours of an abortion to protect future pregnancies

Bipartisan General Assembly Hearing on
Unsafe Medical Practices at Planned Parenthood
Tuesday, July 30th at 11:00 AM
Chase Center on the Riverfront

The Harlan & Hollingsworth Room

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Explaining and exploring how pro-lifers benefit their communities

Isn't it time we examined the negative narrative about pro-lifers that seems to permeate our public consciousness?  

All you have to do is read mainstream news reportage to realize that pro-lifers get a raw deal.  We are portrayed as anti-women extremists, prone to violence, who enjoy shaming women and whose goal is to put women back in subservient positions in society. 

Never mind that women make up significantly more than 50% of the population at any pro-life event or activity. 

Never mind that abortion on demand is just about the best gift that predatory males have ever been given.  Women who are exploited by sex trafficking, as well as ordinary teens who learn from Planned Parenthood that hooking up without relationship is a mark of empowerment for women, both require abortion as a method of "cleaning up" reproductive messes, ie. pregnancy. 

Meanwhile, educators and counselors who oppose both amoral sexuality and abortion on demand are stigmatized in print and in Planned Parenthood sex education programs and material. 

Delaware Right to Life is taking issue with the mis-characterization of the pro-life community, which in every state is a beacon of hope and help to women struggling with reproductive issues. Here's a recent News Journal article, followed by a discussion from the comment section of the online version of the article. I am taking up the keyboard to enter into the discourse. Pro-lifers need better press, and the community at large deserves to know exactly what we do for them.

Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
Ms. Collins seems to forget what women well remember… that Planned Parenthood, even with its alleged shortcomings, is a vast improvement over the back alley abortions they were forced to endure as recently as forty years ago.

  • Jessica Christine Ferraro
    I'm sorry how is leaving baby parts in a patient's body a vast improvement???

  • Cj Warren
    The crap that's been going on sure doesn't sound like a vast improvement to me!

  • Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
    Cj Warren

    It is an improvement. You see the "crap" that happens to a few women. I see the successful abortions that many receive.

    In times past, every woman risked her life by having an abortion. Generally speaking, abortions were performed on kitchen tables in the woman's own home or in the home of the abortionist. Those women who did not die often risked losing their reproductive potential entirely. These were not isolated incidents. They were common, everyday happenings.

    Those women who used coat hangers or knitting needles on themselves were at even greater risk. Most of them died… in excruciating pain.

    So, whatever Planned Parenthood does or does not do, it is far better than what happened to women in the past. Women KNOW that. That's why so many of them choose Planned Parenthood for their abortions.

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    Ms Mary-Lee Lutz , you are forgetting that the article is not about abortion per se but about the benefit to the community of pro-life advocates and pro-life advocacy, a benefit that goes largely unacknowledged and untapped because of Planned Parenthood apologists like yourself. The choice is not PPDE abortions or back-alley abortions. The choice is between knowing your full range of options for an unwanted pregnancy or being given counseling at Planned Parenthood that nurse Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich termed "a joke" as you are rushed through a procedure by an uncaring doctor and a profit-minded business model, often after having been pressured into the abortion by boyfriends, parents or even husbands.

    The term "back alley”, by the way, refers not to where abortions were done prior to Roe v Wade but to how women were instructed t...See More

  • Jessica Christine Ferraro
    To tell women that they must settle for PP because it's better than before is a huge slap in the face to women. Such a tragedy to choose to take your life in your hands all because of a beautiful baby. What would those woman say if we could ask them " was it worth it?", "was it worth it to kill your child and yourself?". What kind of legacy did those women leave, Mary? The common argument against abortion is that "I don't want a baby right now" "I have dreams I want to pursue first". What about the baby's dreams? What about his/her destiny? What if that child grew up to cure cancer? become a doctor? a scientist? What if... I now think of another woman I once knew who had a completely different way of thinking. A woman that had 16 children (yes all from the same husband). That woman was my grandmother and because of her choosing life I am here today. Many of her children and grandchildren went on to work in the healthcare field and SAVE PEOPLES LIVES. She has left a legacy that is touching hundreds of hearts.

  • Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
    Rae, women know what they are doing when they come in to an abortion facility… of any sort. They neither need or want "counseling" on the "full range of their options." They know the "full range of their options" They want an abortion. Period.

    I suggest that women who claim to regret having an abortion are more motivated by the angst and shame that you "pro-life" advocates saddle them with. I have never met a woman who has had an abortion express anything but relief that it is over and done with.

    On the other hand, adoption agencies are now required to inform women of the "full range of THEIR options," including government assistance of various kinds, when they come in to place their babies. When women are so informed, 99% choose to keep their babies and raise them themselves. These are women who already want to give birth, but also want to keep and raise their own children… not women who need to be talked into it.

    Matter of fact, my birthmother gave birth to me when she was sixteen (in 1944) and she relinquished me for adoption. The next time she was pregnant and still unmarried, she had an abortion. I wonder how many other women have done the same. I suspect there are many. So much for the manifest joys of "choosing life."

    In summation, women already know what their choices are, at least as far as whether to continue their pregnancies or abort them. They do not need you to confuse them.

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    "I suggest that women who claim to regret having an abortion are more motivated by the angst and shame that you 'pro-life' advocates saddle them with. " Is it necessary to resort to the inflammatory rhetoric that is precisely the kind of stereotyping that the article exposes to light. It belittles and stigmatizes the super caring women and men who make up the Delaware pro-life community. Either you are politically motivated or you sincerely believe that this stereotype is true. If the former, I will just say that it's a one trick strategy you are using, one that does not reflect reality. As more pro-life folks come "out of the closet" and refuse to be cowed by your own brand of shaming, it will go away. The PPDE scandal already shows how dangerous to the public weal that prejudice can be. If the News Journal had reported on the ...See More

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    Actually, let me correct myself. By using the phrase "super caring" to describe pro-life advocates I'm engaging in the same kind of rhetoric as Ms. Lutz, but from the point of extravagant praise rather than belittling criticism. I apologize. Not everybody is super caring, and not all of the time. I'd say there's more caring than shaming, which is why I invite you to meet some of "the other side".

  • Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
    I did not say that pro-life people do not care. What I did say, basically, is that pro-life people do not respect a woman's ability to choose what is best for herself.

    Just as no one should try to force their religious beliefs, or their political beliefs, or any others of their beliefs on anyone… unless that person asks for an opinion… neither should they try to force their beliefs about abortion on anyone. The women entering Planned Parenthood do not ask for your opinions, and they certainly know how to contact you if they actually want your opinions.

    They do not need your opinions. They have opinions of their own. You need to respect their opinions and their choices.

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    Ah, well, that's a different matter than accusing pro-lifers of "shaming" women and saddling them with angst. You are speaking of those who engage in sidewalk counseling and prayer. I have done quite a lot of that. Yes, it is quite true that the women we approach have not solicited our opinion. It is also true that part of the American experiment is for folks to offer their opinions, unsolicited, in public places. Now, what you say is true: very many women, the majority in fact, have made up their minds completely and are there to have an abortion, no doubt in their minds. But not all. For some women, our presence acts as "a sign" that they are meant to re-think their decision. Read the literature. This literally true.

    We provide two services by praying and by offering literature and counseling.

    1) We offer a supportive presence for those women who are unsure even at the last minute if they really want to end their child's life. Such women exist. A woman came up to our group a few months ago and thanked us for being there. She said that when she heard our Deacon Bob leading us in singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet, with his baritone voice and the conviction of his words, she was moved by the music. She knew then that she would ask to see the ultrasound, and she knew that if she saw the ultrasound she would decide to keep her baby. Which she did. A child lives because a woman in conflict experienced our presence as a sign. Again -- I attended a baby shower thrown by pro-lifers for a young woman who had decided to accept help and counsel from a member of our sidewalk group. When I entered the room where the shower was being held, and saw the young mother whose due date was approaching sitting there laughing and smiling, with the outline of her baby sharp against her t-shirt and the excited laughter of her birth family and her new pro-life "family" all around her, I began to cry. An uncertain woman had found the support she needed at the moment she needed it, because somebody was there to simply ask.

    Presence to a receptive person is more powerful than attempts to persuade an unreceptive person. I respect the women I talk to. I don't shame. I am present, and available, and I offer what I can. Sometimes, that's what is needed. We stand in the gap between life and death -- not to scream and shame but to offer alternatives to those who are willing to listen. We make ourselves available to serve as an unlooked for catalyst for a change that was already formulating interiorly. We are there for those who are receptive. Some are. Just as some are not, and in fact are repelled by us, or angered. No social progress was ever made without some people standing in the gap offering alternatives to the status quo.

    2) We also stand up for the unborn whose last moments of life are approaching. It is a salutary thing to stand in solidarity with innocent human beings in various stages of gestation who are being led to their execution. I like to pray that their last moments be as dignified an end to a short life as is possible. Any person whose conscience is well-formed will stand against injustice when it involves the death of innocents. When a society perpetrates a legal injustice against a vulnerable population on behalf of those it gives the power to choose life and death, a person of conscience can stand in solidarity with the victims without judging or condemning the ones who are imposing death.

    Not all abortion-minded women are cut from the same cloth. That's as true for you to understand as it is for me. The pro-life community stands ready to offer help to those who are open to rethinking abortion, even at the last minute when death and life are immediately on the line.