Making babies met two very different forms of Kryptonite this week: the state of Louisiana and the antidepressant, Paxil.
New Orleans' Times-Picayune reported this week that state representative John LaBruzzo, a Republican, is studying a plan that would pay women $1,000 to have their tubes tied in an effort to curb welfare costs.
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LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government.
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He said the program would be voluntary and could also include payment to men who undergo vasectomies. There could even be a tax break for the aforementioned "affluent, better-educated" folks who have more children! As you can imagine, the plan has been called "racist, sexist, unethical and immoral." The state rep says he's just trying to entertain possible solutions. LaBruzzo opposes abortion, so he'd draw the line at paying women to abort their fetuses. Oh, phew! We were just about to start questioning this guy's character.
In other news, a second Cornell Medical Center study has shown a link between the antidepressant Paxil and higher levels of DNA-damaged—and therefore essentially useless—sperm. Of the group studied, when not on the drug, an average 13 percent of the participants' sperm had modified DNA. While taking the antidepressant, the same subjects' ineffective sperm levels rose to 30 percent. Researchers are quick to say this is no cause for great alarm (after all, it takes but one healthy swimmer, right?), but further research could be helpful, especially for couples facing fertility issues.