Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries of a female animal. In the case of non-human animals, this is also called spaying. It is a form of sterilization.
The removal of the ovaries together with the Fallopian tubes is called salpingo-oophorectomy. Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy are not common forms of birth control in humans; more usual is tubal ligation, in which the Fallopian tubes are blocked but the ovaries remain intact.
In humans, oophorectomy is most usually performed together with a hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus. Its use in a hysterectomy when there are no other health problems is somewhat controversial.
In animals, spaying involves an invasive removal of the ovaries, but rarely has major complications; the superstition that it causes weight gain is not based on fact. Spaying is especially important for certain animals that require the ovum to be released at a certain interval (called estrus or "heat"), such as cats and dogs. If the cell is not released during these animal's heat, it can cause severe medical problems that can be averted by spaying or partnering the animal with a male.
Oophorectomy is sometimes referred to as castration, but that term is most often used to mean the removal of a male animal's testicles.
An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. Upper houses are known by a variety of titles, but the most common is senate. An upper house is usually distinct from the lower house in at least one of a number of ways. An upper house may:
- Be less powerful than the lower house.
- Consist of members selected in a manner other than by popular election.
- Be intended to represent the states of a federation.
- Have a smaller membership than the lower house.
- Consist of members who serve longer terms than those of the lower house.
- Consist of a membership elected in portions, rather than all at once.
- Be considered to be a 'house of review'.
- Often an upper house may only delay but not veto legislation adopted by the lower house. This arises from the notion of an upper house as an advisory or revising chamber. It is the role of a revising chamber to scrutinise legislation that may have been drafted over-hastily in the lower house, and to suggest amendments that the lower house may nevertheless reject if it wishes to. The British House of Lords is sometimes seen as having a special role of safeguarding the constitution and important civil liberties against ill-considered change. By delaying but not vetoing legislation, an upper house may nevertheless defeat legislation: by giving the lower house the opportunity to reconsider, by preventing it from having sufficient time for a bill in the legislative schedule, or simply by embarrassing the other chamber into abandoning an unpopular measure.
- In many systems the upper house has restricted influence over money bills, such as the budget. Constitutions often stipulate that a money bill must originate in the lower house, or that the upper house may not block supply.
One exception to the principle of the upper house having less authority than the lower house may be the United States Senate. This is often referred to as the 'upper house' of the legislature but is in vital respects more powerful than the House of Representatives (the 'lower house').
Election or appointment
- Many upper houses are not directly elected, but appointed: either by the head of government or in some other way. 'Appointment' is usually intended to produce a house of experts or otherwise distinguished citizens, who would not be returned in an election. Members of the Canadian Senate are appointed by the monarch on the direction of the prime minister. In contrast, the Irish Senate is indirectly elected from special panels, intended to represent different aspects of national life, such as labour, employers and culture.
- In federations the upper house may consist of delegates who are indirectly elected by state governments, as is the case in the German Bundesrat and many other upper chambers. Alternatively, members of the upper house may be directly elected but apportioned among states in a manner which is not strictly proportionate to population. In the United States Senate members are directly elected but each state receives exactly two senators, regardless of its population.
- Finally, seats in an upper house may be hereditary, as has historically been the case chambers such as the British House of Lords and the Japanese House of Peers.
Many jurisdictions, such as Denmark, Sweden, Venezuela, New Zealand, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and New Brunswick, once possessed upper houses but abolished them, to adopt unicameral systems. Newfoundland had a Legislative Council prior to joining Canada, as did Ontario when it was Upper Canada. The Australian state of Queensland also used to have a legislative council, which it abolished in 1922, but all other Australian states continue to have bicameral systems.
Titles of upper houses
Last updated: 02-06-2005 21:01:06