Several new parents have sued the state of Michigan for illegally obtaining and storing their newborns’ blood. Parents claim that the practice is unconstitutional even though the blood is reportedly used for medical research.
Parents are also upset that no law is stopping the police or other law enforcement agencies from taking a look at the data from the blood samples.
Essentially, the state has stolen consent from parents,
noted Attorney Philip Ellison who sued the state on behalf of the parents.
Ellison unveiled that parents want to be better informed and to be given the ultimate right to decide. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services unveiled that it has blood samples from 5 million people.
The Great Lake State first started to collect newborn blood in the 1960s in a bid to look for ailments in babies as a public health measure. In the mid-1980s, the state started to store the blood samples.
Parents Want to Have the Right to Decide
In 2000, lawmakers allowed the blood samples to be used in medical research under a program called BioTrust. Michiganians can opt out the program if they were born from 1987 to 2010.
- One of the parents that sued the state, Lynnette Wiegand, said she had falsely believed that her child’s blood would not be stored after the tests.
- Many parents are in Wiegand’s situation as the consent form is fuzzy about where the blood will end up.
Other states have challenged such practices, which led to the destruction of millions of samples. A spokesperson for the Genetic Alliance underlined that current laws are counter to what parents want for their kids, denying them the right to have a say in the blood storage process.
In most states, screening does not involve parents’ consent, but the Michigan plaintiffs want to have a say in the testing and storing of their babies’ blood.
Image Source: NIH.gov