MN House votes unanimously to gut the Minnesota Genetic Privacy Law

Minneapolis/Saint Paul -- Today, in a shocking decision, the Minnesota House voted unanimously to eliminate the genetic privacy rights of citizens, starting at birth. The legislation will exempt warehousing, use, and analysis of newborn blood and DNA from the informed consent requirements of the 2006 Minnesota Genetic Privacy Law.

Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care, makes the following statements:

"Citizen DNA is citizen property. The government should be required to ask, not allowed to take."

"If this bill becomes law, each year 73,000 newborn citizens will not be protected by the state genetic privacy law. The Department will take their DNA and unless the parents figure it out, the government will keep it.

"Children grow up. Eventually, every citizen will have their DNA owned by state government and available for government to engage in genetic research, experimentation, manipulation, and profiling

"What good is the state genetic privacy law if government warehousing and analysis of every child's DNA from birth is exempt from its informed consent protections?"

"The Health Department came to the legislature this year to get out from under the March 2007 administrative law judge's ruling that informed parent consent was required by the state genetic privacy law. They appealed the ruling and lost. Now the legislature is going to let them win."

Conference Committee?

The House voted on the Senate bill. If the Senate accepts the minor amendments adopted by the House without a conference committee, the bill could be sent directly to Governor Pawlenty for his signature.

"Whatever happens, by the looks of it, it'll be up to the Governor to protect the genetic privacy of the people," states Brase.

Twila Brase can be reached at 651-646-8935

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