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California Governor Vetoes Free Condoms Bill for Students

Newsom returned Senate Bill 541 without his signature, citing the lack of funding for such a widespread initiative in California’s 4,000 public schools….reports Asian Lite News

California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has vetoed a bill proposed by State Senator Caroline Menjivar, which sought to make free condoms available in all state schools to curb unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections among teenagers.

Newsom returned Senate Bill 541 without his signature, citing the lack of funding for such a widespread initiative in California’s 4,000 public schools. While acknowledging the bill’s potential benefits, Newsom expressed concerns about the financial burden it would place on the state, especially in its current economic challenges.

In his message, Newsom noted, “This bill would create an unfunded mandate to public schools that should be considered in the annual budget process.” He emphasised the need for fiscal discipline, given the state’s ongoing economic risks and revenue uncertainties.

Meanwhile, the Governor has also vetoed a legislation adding caste to the list of banned grounds for discrimination, saying it is already banned in the state, siding with advocacy groups of Hindu Americans who had mounted a countrywide effort to prevent the enactment of the Bill.

California will not become the first US state to ban caste specifically, which had looked possible in the aftermath of Seattle becoming the first American city to prohibit caste. The same people and groups that had made it possible in Washington state, were now determined to make California the first state to do so, triggering perhaps a domino effect into other states.

“California already prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, colour, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics, and state law specifies that these civil rights protections shall be liberally construed,” Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement explaining the veto. 

“Because discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under these existing categories, this bill is unnecessary.”

Democratic Sate Senator Aisha Wahab, who had introduced the bill had said at the time, “Caste discrimination against the caste-oppressed Dalits–people formerly referred to as “the untouchables” by members of dominant castes–occurs across industries and may include bullying, harassment, bias, wage theft, sexual harassment, and even trafficking. Caste-oppressed people have also been rejected from rental housing when their caste identity is discovered. Additionally, the practice of endogamy–the custom of only marrying within one’s defined social position–perpetuates caste across generations.”

Hindu advocacy groups opposed the bill had put forth the same argument: caste is already covered among the prohibited grounds of discrimination and that adding it spefically to that list put a target on the community at large. They had sought to portray it as a manifestation of Hinduphobia being whipped up by opponents of the community. They welcomed the veto as a “victory”. (with inputs from agencies)


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Modify Your Lifestyle For A Successful IVF

Lifestyle factors are behavioural factors, circumstances and habits that are generally modifiable all affect the success rate of an IVF procedure. These factors are age, smoking, weight, diet, exercise, psychological stress, caffeine, smoking, alcohol consumption, and exposure to environmental pollutants. They not only contribute to subfertility but also affects overall health of the individual…writes DR. Ila Gupta.

Life style modification is the first line treatment for the patients trying either naturally or with ART.

How does age impact fertility?

Fertility decreases considerably with age in both females and males. As more and more people shift to metros, they become career oriented, and choose late marriages and delay planning pregnancy. In men, the testosterone hormone reduces with age thereby reducing sperm count and motility. After the age of 40, significant DNA damage in sperm and decline in viability has been reported.

Age has a greater impact on women compared to men, because women are born with a fixed number of eggs, their number keeps on depleting every cycle. With increase in age woman take more time to conceive.

AMH Test: Have you left it too late to have a baby.

A marked difference is seen in fertility by the time a woman reaches 35 years of age, due to the decrease in the number of eggs along with the deterioration in the quality of oocytes. In addition, there is an increase in the incidence of genetic abnormalities, that is risk of having abnormal baby and miscarriages. Over all, fertility significantly reduces as age advances.

Healthy weight boosts fertility

Obesity is associated with a range of adverse effects on health. Obesity and low body weight can impact the reproductive function by causing a hormonal imbalance, irregular cycles, ovulatory dysfunction and metabolic syndrome. Body Mass Index should be maintained between 19 and 25. Healthy weight can be maintained with balanced diet and regular exercise.

Healthy well balanced diet is very important for good tissue function. One is advised to include fresh fruit, vegetables, good proteins in their diet and to avoid junk and processed food. There are certain vitamins and food groups which have a greater impact on reproductive health than others. Antioxidants cause an increase in pregnancy rates by improving the egg quality and significant improving sperm parameters.

Fitness and fertility

Regular exercise or any kind of physical activity for at least 45 minutes to 60 minutes provides protection from obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and psychological stress and also increases insulin sensitivity which improves ovarian function and the chances of conception.

Improve your chances for a successful IVF. (Photo: Unsplash)

Moderately physically active men have significantly better sperm morphology. However excessive exercise can negatively alter energy balance and affect the reproductive system.

Reduce stress while trying to conceive

Stress may affect the hormones, immune system and the autonomic nervous system. Couples who undergo cancelling and have family support generally have a higher rate of conception.

Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis results increased secretion of cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol have been associated with suppression of immune function, facilitation of central fat deposition and major depression.

Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Exercise releases endorphins which elevate the mood and make one feel good.

Social engagement is the most quickest and efficient way to combat stress. One of the most effective ways to calm the mind is to communicate with someone.

Avoid unnecessary stress, alter the situation by expressing your feelings instead of bottling them up. Accept the things you can’t change, take out time for fun and relaxation, adapt to a healthy lifestyle.

Effect of smoking, alcohol, and caffeine

In males smoking negatively affects sperm production, movement and morphology and is associated with an increased risk of DNA damage. In the females, the follicular environment is affected and there is reduction in ovarian reserve with the deterioration in the quality of oocytes. Menopause has been reported to occur 1-4 years earlier in chronic smokers due to rapid depletion of egg number. There may be an increase in the thickness of covering of the egg making it more difficult for sperm penetration. There may be a significant delay in conception in case of both active and passive smoking.

Alcohol is a known teratogenicity. It may be associated with rise in estrogen hormone which in turn reduces FSH secretion, suppressing egg formation and ovulation. Moderate levels of alcohol consumption have been associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. In men, intake of excess alcohol causes testicular atrophy and loss of libido.

Large consumption of caffeine (500mg per day) has been associated with an increased risk of subfertility. It has also been associated with tubal factors and endometriosis and increased risk of spontaneous abortion.

Therefore, by adopting healthy lifestyle one can improve and have the optimum chances of conception.

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