MN: Court Sides With State in Baby Blood Storage Case

Jeff D. Gorman reports:

Minnesota did not violate families’ privacy rights by collecting and storing children’s blood samples, the state Court of Appeals ruled.

Alan and Keri Bearder and the parents of 23 other children sued the state and its Department of Health for allegedly collecting blood samples from their infants to test for genetic disorders, and then storing the blood in freezers for use in research.

The parents claimed the state’s actions violated state privacy laws.

Read more on Courthouse News, where you can also read the court’s opinion (pdf). A key part of the opinion was the broad powers of the Commissioner “trump” the state’s genetic privacy act which requires written informed consent before use of the information “unless otherwise expressly provided by law.”

Applying these principles, we conclude that Minn. Stat. § 144.125-.128 and other governing legislation granting the commissioner broad authority to manage the newborn screening program amount to an “express” provision of law that authorizes collection, retention, use and dissemination of blood specimens for the newborn screening program, making the genetic privacy act inapplicable.

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