Loss of privacy: government collecting and storing DNA samples of newborn babies – available to law enforcement and for medical research
Did you know that it is now common practice in all 50 U.S. states to collect DNA samples from all newborn babies and store them in data banks, which can later be made available to law enforcement or doctors wanting to do medical research?
These DNA samples are contained in blotted blood spots from babies’ pin-pricked heels taken within hours of birth. The storage length legally allowed for newborn DNA blood spots varies from state to state, from as little as three months to indefinitely.
Federal law, through the agencies of The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), a branch of the National Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), requires the blood spots be taken for research purposes in all 50 states.
Recent media reports about law enforcement using these stored DNA samples to hunt down suspected criminals have brought this issue of privacy and consent over stored DNA samples from infants to the forefront of the public.
If you choose to have your baby born in a hospital setting, it would be wise to know what your state’s policy is on DNA samples collected and what your options are.
Practice Started In 1960s for Medical Research
During the 1960’s, Dr. Robert Guthrie developed a screening test for phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder that lacks the enzyme needed for metabolizing phenylalanine into tyrosine.
This disorder can cause brain damage and progressive mental retardation as a result of the accumulation of phenylalanine leading to brain disorders and mental retardation.
Dr. Guthrie created the system for collecting, transporting, and storing blood samples on filter paper to create a cost-effective, wide-scale, genetic screening process capable of long-term storing and filing. The Guthrie system of obtaining and storing DNA from newborns evolved further to incorporate other the genetic predispositions to several other diseases. (Source)
This was considered a great step toward early disease detection for all children and even disease prevention as they grow into adulthood. The breakthrough that inspired the notion of saving DNA blueprint material from newborns with the potential for selling them to labs for research projects had become plausible upon the completion of the human genome project, circa 2002-03.
The Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) has compiled a list of all 50 states who have arrangements for saving infant blood spots for complete DNA profiles of each child and their legal guidelines for lengths of legal storage for each year from 2002 to 2016. Click here to view.
Many Are Concerned about Centralized DNA Information for Everyone Born in Hospitals in the USA
The issues and concerns with data bank filings of neonatal DNA blood spots are ownership, secrecy, and parental agreement.
Twila Brase, RN, PHN, co-founder and president of CCHF, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom states:
That which the government holds, the government owns. A child’s DNA held by the government could be sequenced, meaning a baby’s genetic code could be completely detailed and mapped—and then recorded in a state government database, used and shared.
This is private information America’s tiniest citizens, who will grow into adults stripped of their genetic privacy when they weren’t able to protect themselves. (Source)
While it may be useful for parents to know if their children are born with genetic propensities for certain diseases beforehand, and not after suffering from the disease, the fact of storing the information is mostly concerning.
Using Genetic DNA for Eugenic Human Breeding and Social Engineering?
Eugenic human breeding and culling first require genetic labeling. Eugenicists who wish to cull the human herd and breed only superior humans have been around since the mid-19th Century, not first in Nazi Germany as many would suspect, but here in the USA and England.
This kind of genetic DNA information could be used by powerful government influences for social engineering, particularly in “medical research.”
The study and practice of eugenics is still alive and well today – just packaged under new terminology.
Parental Control and Consent: Be Informed and Know Your Rights
Corporate influence on governmental policies and legislation has led to stripping parental decision-making for vaccinations in many states. Opting out has become so difficult and socially dangerous that giving birth and raising children has to be managed adroitly under medical tyranny by those who know the dangers of vaccines.
A recent San Francisco local CBS news coverage focused on this issue. Most parents surveyed had no idea the blood spot procedures were done. The few that did didn’t know why, nor did they know whether they could opt out or not.
Opting out varies from state to state. You can find out whether your state allows opting out here and find opt-out forms. Opting out includes accepting the DNA upon birth but insisting on not storing it for any length of time and requiring proof that its the case.
The complaints around ‘inform and consent’ center on the lack of information or the type of information and its timing. Handing the expectant mother a pile of brochures, that may or may not have the information needed, just before or just after delivery, may be too overwhelming to consider for real informed consent.
This has been the most common complaint. It could be handled by direct communication from doctor to pregnant mother instead of handing her a vaccination schedule.
And instead of state’s requiring years and even indefinite storage of DNA blood spots, there should be an opt-out of storage allowances for those who want the screening results.
The paper “NEWBORN GENETIC SCREENING The New Eugenics?” is a detailed report with quotes from agreeing medical professionals regarding the potentially negative consequences of state DNA collection and storage. They recommend:
- Allowing parents to choose the conditions for which their child is tested
- Destruction of current State newborn DNA repositories
- Before newborn blood is taken, require informed written consent for:
- Newborn genetic screening
- Government storage of test results and newborn DNA
- Research using newborn DNA and newborn genetic test results (Source)
One could also join the growing ranks of parents choosing to not have their babies delivered in hospital settings, but at home. This is a growing trend even among medical professionals!
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