Originally published April 29 2008
New Legislation Calls for Government Ownership of DNA
by Barbara L. Minton
(NaturalNews) An article published in the April 4, 2008 issue of World Net Daily outlines a plan that has state and federal governments staking claim to the ownership of every newborn's DNA in perpetuity. This Orwellian like plan is advancing under the radar of most privacy rights activists, as well as that of most people. It would turn the U.S. citizenry into an enormous pool of subjects for involuntary scientific experiments, claims one organization alarmed over the issue.
"We are considered guinea pigs, as opposed to human beings with rights," according to Twila Brase, president of the Citizen's Council on Health Care, a Minnesota based organization. "The Senate just voted to strip citizens of parental rights, privacy rights, patient rights and DNA property rights. They voted to make every citizen a research subject of the state government starting at birth," she said. "They voted to let the government create genetic profiles of every citizen without their consent."
Brase warned that the ultimate outcome of such DNA databases could spark the next wave of demands for eugenics, the science of improving the human race through the control of various inherited traits. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, who brought us the message of "choice" about reproductive freedom, was one of the original advocates of eugenics to cull from the population people considered unfit.
In 1921 Sanger said that eugenics is "the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems". She later lamented "the ever increasing, unceasingly spawning of human beings who never should have been born at all".
Minnesota lawmakers recently endorsed a proposal that would exempt stockpiles of DNA information already collected from every newborn from any type of consent requirements. If approved, researchers would be able to utilize the DNA of more than 780,000 Minnesota children for whatever research project they have in mind, according to Brase.
The DNA of every newborn will be collected at birth and "warehoused in a state genomic biobank, and given away to genetic researchers without parental consent, or in adulthood, without the individual's consent. Already, the health department reports that 42,210 children have been subjected to genetic research without their consent," Brase told World Net Daily.
Although Brase works with Minnesota issues, similar laws, rules and regulations are already in use across the country. Lists of the various statutes or regulatory provisions under which the newborns' DNA is collected for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, can be found in The National Conference of State Legislatures.
These programs are the result of "screening" requirements for the detection of treatable illnesses. Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., wants to turn these programs into a consolidated national effort. "Fortunately, some newborn screening occurs in every state but fewer than half of the states including Connecticut actually test for all disorders that are detectable," according to Dodd who sees this legislation as providing resources for states to expand their newborn screening programs.
The problem of all this for Brase is that "researchers already are looking for genes related to violence, crime, and different behaviors... This isn't just about diabetes, asthma and cancer," she said. "It's also about behavioral issues. In England they decided they should have doctors looking for problem children, and have those children reported, and their DNA taken in case they would become criminals."
A senior police forensics expert believes that genetic samples should be studied because identification of potential criminals as young as age 5 may be identified, according to a UK published report. "If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large," according to Gary Pugh, director of forensics at Scotland Yard. "You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won't. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threats to society."
The UK database is already the largest in Europe with 4.5 million genetic samples, but activists want it expanded. Costs and logistics make it impossible right now to demand everyone provide a DNA sample, Pugh said.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is being suggested for targeted children from 5-12 in the UK, says the Institute for Public Policy Research. Pugh has suggested adding children to this database in primary schools, even if they have not offended.
Although Chris Davis, of the National Primary Head Teacher's Association, warns the move could be seen as "a step towards a police state", Pugh says the UK's annual cost of $26 billion from violent crime makes it well worth the effort.
Brase sees such efforts to study the traits and gene factors across the board as just the beginning. She wonders what could happen through subsequent programs to address such conditions. "Not all research is great," she said. "There is research that is highly objectionable into the genetic propensities of an individual. Not all research should be hailed as wonderful initiatives."
The fact that this type of research can identify some tendencies for potential problems is seen as one of its downfalls by Brase. "It lends itself to be the beginning of discrimination and prejudice," she said. "People can look at data about you and make assessments ultimately of who you are." She sees the invasion of privacy is huge because DNA is the most intimate identifier that exists.
According to Brase, "our DNA is not ours but the government's. It says our values, our ethics, belief systems have to be subjected to the interests of the government's."
At present, various states obtain DNA under different plans and keep the information for varying time periods. But the Minnesota initiative will call for the legal authorization for the state government to take it without consent, keep it forever, and use it for whatever purposes the state desires, without obtaining consent or even letting people know.
Brase points out that a mandatory sample of a newborn's DNA will also expose information about the parents. "It's like they're collecting information on the whole family," she said.
Another organization Heartland Regional Genetics and Newborn Screening, advocates its desire to see newborns screened for 200 conditions, and Individual Educational Programs (IEPs) based on confidential interpretations of family medical history, brain imaging, and genetic predictors of best learning methods. They also want every individual sharing information about "personal and family health histories" as well as "gene tests for recessive conditions and drug metabolism" with the "other parent of their future children".
Brase is against such extensive genetic profiles. The government with such extensive knowledge of potential health weaknesses could then say to couples, "We don't want your expensive children".
Bob Unruh, World New News, April 3, 2008
About the authorBarbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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