Commentary

Michigan Judge Rules Against Parents in Baby DNA Case

By Twila Brase | August 15, 2018 | 12:14pm EDT
A baby has blood taken from it's heel. (Screenshot)

A District Court ruled in favor of the defense on a motion to dismiss a case involving Baby DNA in Michigan. Read the Aug. 8 Adam Kanuszewski, et. al. v. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, et. al. decision here.

As the organization that first discovered state storage of newborn DNA, we are disappointed in the judge’s ruling against Michigan parents who sued the State of Michigan for storing and using their child’s DNA without their consent The children’s blood was taken at birth for the newborn genetic screening program and sent to the Michigan Neonatal Biobank, which holds the DNA of almost every child born in Michigan since 1987—more than 5 million children, many of them now adults.

 

The judge’s decision to limit “harm” to actions taken with the children’s newborn blood samples after they were stored without their parent’s consent is shortsighted. The retention is the first harm. Most of these children will grow up to be law-abiding adults with their DNA held by the government—used, shared and available for the state legislature to pass laws expanding how it can or must be used in the future.

This ruling sets a dangerous precedent of disregard for government retention of citizen DNA starting at birth, and it is indeed a violation of constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments. These parents should appeal this court order granting the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Twila Brase is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org), a Minnesota-based national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights.

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