April 4, 2008
Pending Minnesota bill will strip citizens of genetic privacy and DNA ownership rights
A prominent Health Organization has warned that there is an ongoing semi-covert movement by state and federal governments to claim ownership of every newborn baby’s DNA for the purpose of genetic research without the consent of individual citizens.
A pending bill on the floor of the Minnesota House and Senate will strip citizens of genetic privacy and DNA ownership rights, The Citizens Council on Healthcare has warned.
"Today, a state genetic privacy law requires informed parent consent for government testing, ownership and research on the DNA of the newest Minnesota residents. The Minnesota Department of Health wants to eliminate the informed consent requirements. A bill to remove consent requirements for government ownership and genetic research will soon be voted on by the Minnesota House and Senate." The CCHC website explains.
"Thus far, the state of Minnesota has illegally collected and claims ownership to the DNA of 780,000 children (soon to be voting adults) and has provided the DNA of 42,210 children to genetic researchers without parent consent. Approximately, 73,000 children are born in Minnesota every year. About 4.2 million children are born across the nation. All of them are losing their genetic privacy and DNA ownership rights." the organization’s report continues.
The state treats the activity as an "opt out" program, whereby if the parents of the newborn infant do not specifically opt out of the process, the state presumes its has “informed consent” and that the parents have opted in.
CCHC President Twila Brase has warned that the databases housing the DNA could form the basis for a new eugenics movement, the practice of "perfecting" the human race through genetic manipulation, previously endorsed by Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and toyed with by the likes of Adolf Hitler.
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.
Essentially this would mean that eventually every person’s DNA would be collected at birth, warehoused by the state in what is known as a "genomic biobank", and sold or given away to private or governmental genetic researchers, who may manipulate, alter or splice the DNA in any way they see fit.
Such information would represent a goldmine to employers, insurance companies, medical institutions, and big pharma.
Under such conditions we are faced with the prospect of a society that is literally the mirror image of the nightmarish vision outlined by Aldous Huxley in his 1932 novel Brave New World, where individuals are categorized in a social hierarchy according to their genetic traits.
Watch Twila Brase explain the possible consequences of the pending DNA profiling legislation:
Ms. Brase has been warning of the ongoing move for a a number of years. In January 2007 she issued a written testimony to the Minnesota legislature on the unethical and hidden uses of harvested DNA by the state.
Read the 18 page PDF document here.
Recently, Minnesota based researcher and activist Marti Oakley revealed that, according to her polling, the majority of parents or grand parents of newborns have no idea that this is happening.
Further, not one knew that they had the right to demand the blood and tissue samples be destroyed after 45 days per written request. Even had they known, and the samples were destroyed (you would have no way of knowing if they really were) the information gleaned from them would still be available and on file…..in perpetuity.
Also unknown to at least the new parents in Minnesota, is that once that 45 days has lapsed, the state now claims that they “own” the DNA of that child.
Though the Minnesota case has received recent public attention, such DNA harvesting is not restricted to that state and is being undertaken 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 being collected.
DNA of newborns has been harvested, tested, stored and experimented with by all 50 states. In addition, all 50 states are now routinely providing these results to the Department of Homeland Security.
In the UK, a similar DNA harvesting program was rejected in 2005 by The Human Genetics Commission, who cited cost and ethical problems in a report to government ministers.
However, DNA profiling of all newborn babies has since been called for by lawmakers and most recently by senior police officers.
Oppose the Minnesota Department of Health’s refusal to fully inform parents
Currently, there is a monumental effort under way by The Citizens Council on Health Care to petition the state to oppose illegal State government ownership of the blood, DNA and genetic test results of newborn citizens in Minnesota. http://www.cchconline.org/petition/babyDNA2007.php
The CCHC is calling on Governor Tim Pawlenty to direct the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to comply with Minnesota state privacy law, to fully inform parents of the genetic testing process and their legal rights–and to dismantle MDH’s illegal warehouse of newborn citizen DNA. (Contact Sue Jeffers directly at: S1U2E3@aol.com )
For more resources on this issue visit the CCHC website.