Peter Baklinski

Texan surgeon gives hope to sterilized men seeking wholeness

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas, November 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dr. Mark Hickman would try to talk any man out of having a vasectomy any day.

He would begin by telling them all the horror stories that he has heard from the many men who have undergone the invasive procedure that unnaturally blocks tubes that are designed to carry sperm out of a man’s body.

Dr. Hickman would mention that many men become distraught after finding their sexual drive dwindle as a result of the procedure. He would highlight the men who say that their sense of wholeness and sense of well-being diminished soon after the procedure. And he would warn that many men relate symptoms of increased sensitivity and even chronic pain in their testicles after the procedure.

He would also speak about the married men who told him that eliminating the “risk” of impregnating their spouse through what they thought was consequence-free sex led them down the “slippery slope” to sexual relationships with other women.

If Dr. Hickman were speaking to a vasectomy seeker with a religious bent, he would state that “vasectomy circumvents God’s design for human sexuality and fertility”. He would mention the numerous men who related to him that immediately after their vasectomies, they left the doctor’s office and cried as they “knew in their hearts they had sinned.”

It is to be expected that men find themselves opening their hearts to Dr. Hickman with their stories of sorrow and woe. These men confide in him because of their hope that the good doctor will be the one to free them from anguish.

Dr. Hickman is a vasectomy reversal surgeon who has made it his life’s mission to restore infertile broken men to fertility and wholeness.

Dr. Hickman has become nationally and internationally recognized in helping men through vasectomy reversals. As a Catholic who reveres the teaching of Humanae Vitae, the landmark 1969 papal encyclical on sexuality that most famously reiterated the Church’s teaching against artificial contraception, Dr. Hickman has performed close to a thousand reversals in four years in his clinic in New Braunfels, Texas. Along with his clinical team, he performs six to eight procedures per week.

Statistics indicate that five to seven hundred thousand men undergo elective sterilization by vasectomy each year in the United States. But each year, about five percent of these men regret their decision and seek vasectomy reversal surgery.

In a field where physicians charge anywhere from nine to twenty-two thousand dollars for a reversal, Dr. Hickman strives to “bring affordable, superior care to those seeking an addition to their family”. For an all-inclusive fee of three thousand dollars, Dr. Hickman offers a “pain-free surgical procedure with a short recovery time and proven results”.

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Dr. Hickman explained to LifeSiteNews in a recent interview that while men have vasectomies for many reasons, there is always one underlining reason: they don’t want another child.

Some don’t want children for financial reasons, some because they are worried about how a pregnancy might negatively affect the health of their spouse, and some because they think they have reached the right family size.

No matter what the reason, Dr Hickman says, when a man takes the step of vasectomy, he is “basically putting himself ahead of God’s will by saying: ‘Well, I think I know a little more about what to do for my sexuality than God does.’”

Dr. Hickman called vasectomy a “disobedience to God’s plan” for men and women who were originally commanded by God when he created them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

“They want to be in control of their lives instead of putting the Lord in the rightful command position,” he said. “Hence the Catholic Church’s admonishment against it and her insistence that if one can afford it, they have it reversed.”

Dr. Hickman knows that married couples often have legitimate reasons to postpone having children, but he will tell them that getting a vasectomy is not the way to go. He recommends Natural Family Planning (NFP), a method that acknowledges God’s plan for fertility by respecting the bodies of both the man and the women. NFP, using no chemicals or artificial hormones, is based on self-observation and the use of the infertile periods.

“Natural Family Planning techniques approved by the Church allow for the responsible, meaningful and thoughtful expression of love within a marriage. Vasectomy, on the other hand, often times has more selfish motivations behind the decision to have it performed. It is an affront to God’s dominion over our lives,” he said.

Dr. Hickman pointed out that a moral regulation of fertility is not simply a Catholic issue. He related one story of an Orthodox Jew who came to his clinic for a reversal. A Rabbi had told the man that “being sterilized is being disobedient to God” and that even though the man already had four children, he could be “blessed more.”

The work of vasectomy reversal is not merely a business for the doctor; he views it as more of an “apostolate”. It is a “ministry for spreading God’s Word,” he says. He and his co-workers firmly believe in “God’s healing power” and do not shy away from sharing their convictions with their patients.

Before each reversal procedure, Dr. Hickman prays with the man lying on the operating table. The man’s wife is asked to be present during the procedure.

“Heavenly Father,” he prays, “we humbly come before you today to praise you and to pour out our thanksgiving. We are so grateful that you deal with us in your love and in your mercy. Today this man and this woman come before you to return fertility to your control.”

“I ask that you send your Holy Spirit upon this man to minimize his discomfort and to relieve his anxiety. Be with this woman as she ministers to her man. Be with my scrub-tech and myself as we operate. Guide our hands.”

“And Abba, Father, we are thanking you for the blessing that you are going to pour out on the obedience of this family. I ask that you give them the desire of their hearts. We love you Lord Jesus. Come quickly. In your mighty name I pray. Amen.”

As a man of faith, Dr. Hickman said that he and his staff are “proud of that witness, we’re not ashamed of it, we want to promulgate it and put it on display.”

Maurice Prater, director of the Missionaries of the Holy Family where Hickman serves as a member of the Apostolate Board, called Hickman’s work a “unique ministry”.

“He is performing very affordable vasectomy reversals so husbands can become fathers, either again or for the very first time,” he said to LifeSiteNews.

Prater called Hickman an example of a “faithful Catholic doctor in the midst of Obamacare’s promotion of an insidious Culture of Death.”

Hickman and his team have been performing successful reversals for long enough to receive notifications of pregnancies and births on a regular basis.

“Each time I hear of such blessings it reminds me of how, in our small way, our team is lashing back against the current culture of death that trivializes the sanctity of human life,” he said. 

Visit Dr. Hickman’s website for further information about the vasectomy reversal process.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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