Baby DNA Used Illegally

Cynthia Dermody
7

DNA analysisLess than a month after reporting that the government may be using samples of your baby's DNA for experiments without your permission, more disturbing news has come to light.

The Texas Tribune reports that the state of Texas turned over hundreds of dried blood samples to the federal government to help build a vast DNA database — a forensics tool designed to identify missing persons and crack cold cases.

And not only that.

The newspaper's review of over nine years of emails and internal documents reveals an effort to limit the public’s knowledge of aspects of the newborn blood program. But the five parents of newborns who filed a lawsuit never saw them, because the state settled the case so quickly that it never reached the discovery phase.

Every newborn in the country gets their heel pricked for a blood sample after birth to test for a battery of genetic disease and birth defects. Some states will destroy the cards after that critical testing period.

Others can legally hold on to it indefinitely, and some turn it over to researchers who do gene experiments on it. They're not supposed to have your baby's name attached to it without a parent's consent, but sometimes they still get a hold of those details.

In the Texas case, federal officials hoped to be able to share this data worldwide for international law enforcement and investigation in the context of homeland security and anti-terrorism efforts.

Do you know whether your state has destroyed your baby's heel prick test or if they are holding on to it indefinitely for possible research experiments? How do you feel about this practice?

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