"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Planning a family? Feds to start collecting all newborns' DNA

Is newborn DNA harvesting a prelude to microchipping at birth?

Bush Signs Bill To Take All Newborns' DNA
Steve Watson
Friday, May 2, 2008

President Bush last week signed into law a bill which will see the federal government begin to screen the DNA of all newborn babies in the U.S. within six months, a move critics have described as the first step towards the establishment of a national DNA database.

Described as a "national contingency plan" the justification for the new law S. 1858 , known as The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007, is that it represents preparation for any sort of "public health emergency."

The bill states that the federal government should "continue to carry out, coordinate, and expand research in newborn screening" and "maintain a central clearinghouse of current information on newborn screening. ensuring that the clearinghouse is availableon the Internet and is updated at least quarterly". Sections of the bill also make it clear that DNA may be used in genetic experiments and tests.

Read the full bill

One health care expert and prominent critic of DNA screening is Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care who has written a detailed analysis of the new law in which she warns that it represents the first program of populationwide genetic testing.

Brase states that S.1858 and H.R. 3825, the House version of the bill, will:

1. Establish a national list of genetic conditions for which newborns and children are to be tested.

2. Establish protocols for the linking and sharing of genetic test results nationwide. . Build surveillance systems for tracking the health status and health outcomes of individuals diagnosed at birth with a genetic defect or trait.

3. Use the newborn screening program as an opportunity for government agencies to identify, list, and study "secondary conditions" of individuals and their families.

4. Subject citizens to genetic research without their knowledge or consent.

"Soon, under this bill, the DNA of all citizens will be housed in government genomic biobanks and considered governmental property for government research," Brase writes .

"The DNA taken at birth from every citizen is essentially owned by the government, and every citizen becomes a potential subject of government-sponsored genetic research."

"The public is clueless. S. 1858 imposes a federal agenda of DNA databanking and population-wide genetic research. It does not require consent and there are no requirements to fully inform parents about the warehousing of their child's DNA for the purpose of genetic research."

In a previous report we outlined the consequences of the already existing DNA warehousing operation in Minnesota, a program that the Citizens' Council on Health Care has been following closely for a number of years.

Ms. Brase explained in a statement last month that state Health Department officials are now seeking exemption for the so called "DNA Warehouse" from Minnesota privacy law. This would enable state officials to continue to take the DNA of newborn infants without consent, which would also set the precedent for nationwide policy on DNA screening.

DNA of newborns has already been harvested, tested, stored and experimented with nationwide.
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists for all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the various statutes or regulatory provisions under which newborns' DNA is already being collected. In addition, all 50 states are now routinely providing these results to the Department of Homeland Security. The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007 merely establishes this practice within the law.

Another vocal critic of bill S. 1858 is Texas Congressman Ron Paul who made the following comments before the U.S. House of Representatives:
"I cannot support legislation, no matter how much I sympathize with the legislation's stated goals, that exceed the Constitutional limitations on federal power or in any way threatens the liberty of the American people. Since S. 1858 violates the Constitution, and may have untended consequences that will weaken the American health care system and further erode medical privacy, I must oppose it."

Paul, a medical doctor himself continued, "S. 1858 gives the federal bureaucracy the authority to develop a model newborn screening program. Madame Speaker the federal government lacks both the constitutional authority and the competence to develop a newborn screening program adequate for a nation as large and diverse as the United States. ."

"Those of us in the medical profession should be particularly concerned about policies allowing government officials and state-favored interests to access our medical records without our consent . My review of S. 18 58 ind icates the drafters of the legislation made no effort to ensure these newborn screening programs do not violate the privacy rights of parents and children," Paul continued.

"In fact, by directing federal bureaucrats to create a contingency plan for newborn screening in the event of a 'public health' disaster, this bill may lead to further erosions of medical privacy. As recent history so eloquently illustrates, politicians are more than willing to take, and people are more than willing to cede, liberty during times of 'emergency," he concluded.


Diana Vice said...

Sounds like a good reason to give home birth a try.

David Myers said...

So in 20 years we can check this DNA for that rapist or murder that just happen next door to you. Sounds good to me.

Sean Shepard said...

This is the sort of legislation that we need people in Congress to oppose.

David's comment alarms me greatly as it is completely statist.

How about we check your DNA to find out that two generations ago one of your ancestors was a rapist and we just let it leak to the news. The potential abuse of something like this is unavoidable.

No different than when the Clintons tried to use IRS records to go after political opponents only this could be far worse.

So the government won't just steal your money, now they will steal your DNA. It's not theirs and I will refuse to surrender it for any future children my wife and I might have.

ALSO - please check out "The Business of Being Born" Video/DVD (Netflix has it available to watch live from the web). I agree with Diana ... home birth could make a comback I think.

G. Orwell said...

Soilent green is people!

Ok, David, we'll implant your microchip tomorrow.

Sean Shepard said...

LOL @ orwell...

EXACTLY. Well, heck, if we could just implant people with RFID chips we could track their every movement and know right away if they might be doing something they shouldn't, travelling too fast in their car or who knows what else.

We'll know where you were, what you were doing all the time between the DNA, video cameras and microchips. And we'll have a whole cadre of underpaid, but completely honest and incorruptable, unbribable government workers tracking all of this.

And we'll trust the government with all of this since they never abuse anything, make mistakes or stray from the original intended purpose of something they've imposed.

Read 1984. Then read it again. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, this information makes me sick. I would not want my children's DNA kept for any government plans. It is one thing to screen for conditions upon a parent's consent, but it is quite another to think that samples could be kept of DNA and used for what? Cloning or some sort of segregation or biological warfare? Some things need to remain sacred and private.