Dear Readers, Twenty years ago, during my last pregnancy, I learned that PA was routinely testing pregnant women for HIV without their consent. The results were not disclosed to these women but from my understanding, was for statistical purposes only. As far as I can ascertain, the routine collection of blood from newborns (blood drops on a card about the size of a postcard) is sent to the state's Department of Health for analysis of genetic health problems. These cards are supposed to be destroyed once the purpose is fulfilled. Through my many years of research, I have come to the conclusion that we are lab rats to be experimented upon by the powers that be. I encourage you to check out some of my other posts and to do your own research. I'm going to be posting a series of these articles for your careful review. I urge you to contact your elected representatives to support a Genetic Privacy Act. As it was in the days of Noah . . . Blessings, Dona Witmer
Friday, January 20, 2012 | From LawInfo
Minnesota Newborn Screening Program Keeps Minors' DNA for Testing, Etc.
A class action comprised of parents of newborns in Minnesota is suing the state, its Department of Health, and its commissioner, claiming that they have violated the state's Genetic Privacy Act, which took effect in 2006. The Act was designed to protect the genetic privacy rights of all people living within the state, including newborns.
The complaint alleges that within 5 days of each of the minor plaintiff's birth, in accordance with the state's 'Newborn Screening' program, the defendants "took blood from each minor plaintiff, which contains the genetic information of the minor plaintiff," as they similarly collect samples of genetic information from all of the babies born in Minnesota.
Then, however, after testing the samples for genetic abnormalities, rather than destroying the samples, the defendants stored them and, "disseminated the genetic information, and conducted tests and research on the genetic information belonging to numerous other persons in Minnesota."
"The Genetic Privacy Act states that genetic information may be used only for the purposes for which an individual has given written and informed consent, may be stored only for the period of time that the individual has given written informed consent, and may not be disseminated without an individual's written informed consent," according to the complaint.
It will be interesting to see whether this case ends up eventually going to trial, or the state enters into some sort of settlement agreement. Of course, the collection of blood from newborns for these screening programs is not reserved to the state of Minnesota, it is merely one of the few states that actually has a protective law in place.
Reality of Genetic Protection Laws
I find this case particularly interesting because I recently read a book, called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is a true story about a woman whose cells were used to create a cell line that was so expansive it was the go to material for any sort of genetic testing, whether for testing the affects of diseases, creating immunizations, or testing medications. Yet, Henrietta had never even given consent for the cells to be used in any sort of research, she was merely seeking treatment for cervical cancer.
In fact, the book details, there really isn't any sort of comprehensive legislative protection in place in terms of cells and DNA testing. Once you give a blood or tissue sample, eventhough you may have received test results and moved on, your samples are stored. While waves of support for protective legislation have occurred, the issue hasn't really entered into the spotlight. In fact, this lawsuit only really has a basis because the state has its own Act in place granting protections.
Other Posts: FBI Announces Creation of Biometric Database "Next Generation Identification"--people's bodies will become de facto national identification cards , FDA's New Claim: "Your Body Is a Drug-and We Have the Authority to Regulate It!" , Will US Patent Office end gene patent enslavement of the human race? , Fox News: Spanish Researchers Want to Tag Human Embryos With Bar Codes , White House: Science of man-made life can proceed--read "tinkering with our DNA" , Federal Judge Blocks Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research , How to Remake Life: Venter Institute Researchers have made the first viable cell with a synthetic Genome. , Soylent Green? First Human Embryonic Stem Cell Test Begins , Bio - Piracy: Gene Giants Stockpile Patents on "Climate-Ready" Crops in Bid to Become Biomasters ; DNA barcoding aims to protect species, food -- Call it a DNA digital Dewey Decimal System for all life on Earth. , State finds yet another way to jab Americans with needles in pursuit of monolithic DNA database .