Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Whose option is it anyways?

It’s the first Tuesday of March in an election year. That date signifies it was the night for precinct caucuses, which my wife and I took the liberty of attending this evening.

Among the items on the precinct caucus agenda is the consideration and adoption of resolutions for our political party’s platform. If the resolutions are passed, they are then forwarded to the Senate District Convention.

One of the resolutions introduced at our gathering was one to change a current law regarding genetic testing on newborns. The legislation which exists today is a newborn in Minnesota is screened for approximately 50 health risks by the Department of Health. The blood/tissue samples drawn during these tests are then stored in the health department laboratory. Naturally, there may be parents who would balk at such a scenario as having their child’s DNA stored in a lab. Therefore, the parents have two options. They can either request that their child’s blood/tissue samples be destroyed within two years or they can opt out of the newborn screening altogether

What further complicates this whole issue is some parents have claimed that hospital staff has never informed them of their rights under state law.

Two Minnesota lawmakers, Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, are co-sponsoring legislation that would have parents “opt-in” for newborn screening. That essentially means that the total discretion is left to the parents on whether or not they want to subject their newborn to such tests. With an “opt-in” law, people who feel strongly in favor of genetic testing can take the initiative to ensure that newborn screening takes place.

Please stay updated on this on other health care issues by visiting the web site for “Citizen’s Council on Health Care.”

No comments: