Minnesota Committee Votes Tomorrow On Creating Inventory Of "Less Than Perfect" Children

St. Paul, Minnesota - Every newborn child in Minnesota will be required to submit to medical testing for congenital disorders and defects -- unless parents make an objection in writing that is based on a conflict with religious tenets and practice. No other objections are allowed.

The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee will vote tomorrow on the HHS budget bill, which includes the requirement for medical testing of children, and the requirement that a state birth defects registry be created.

"Minnesota is proposing a statewide inventory of the 'less than perfect'. No government should be allowed to create databases on its citizens, least of all on citizens who happen to be born with less than perfect physical health," says Twila Brase, president of the St. Paul-based Citizens' Council on Health Care.

Brase notes that a similar initiative in 1997 was defeated when parent and patient consent for placement on the registry was amended to the bill. Health officials got legislators in the HHS omnibus bill conference committee to strip out all the language to prevent enactment of the consent requirements.

"This is no better idea now than it was in 1997 when it was defeated. Citizens should not be required to submit to medical testing without patient or parent consent. The potential for discrimination and unconsented medical research on the less fortunate is enormous."

The legislation, which has been introduced as part of the omnibus HHS bill [HF 904(Bradley)/SF821(Kiscaden)], will also allow the commissioner of health to periodically revise the list of tests to be administered--without public notice or comment. Such revisions will have the force and effect of law.

"This legislation seeks to provide the state of Minnesota with unprecedented authority to submit its citizens to medical testing. The list of congenital defects can be expanded ad infinitum. Even genetic testing is not out of the question."

"Citizens need to understand. This is not newborn screening, this is defect testing," added Brase.

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)