Dogged investigation by a non-profit online media organization in Texas has revealed that between 2003 and 2007, the state quietly gave hundreds of newborn blood samples to a U.S. Armed Forces laboratory for use in a forensics database. The revelation will likely raise questions about how newborn screening programs are run and how the samples are disseminated, almost always without families knowing where they go.
In this case, 800 blood samples were to be part of a new, national mitochondrial DNA database intended as a reference databank for the forensic community and for research into mitochondrial DNA variation—DNA we inherit from our mother. California, Minnesota, and Florida have also reportedly supplied infant blood samples to the effort, according to The Texas Tribune investigation.
Like virtually every state, Texas routinely screens almost all newborns for rare diseases, collecting a few drops of blood at birth. In recent years many states, Texas included, have stored the samples and offered them up for research, mainly in pediatrics. Because the samples are anonymous (though they may come with some demographic information, depending on the study), researchers have argued that they don’t need to seek informed consent to use them.
What measures are in place to insure anonymity? I can guess. Trust.
I think we can dispense with the idea that such data will be used to enhance the human condition. Knowledge of someone’s DNA profile is power over that person, not least by allowing for the creation of individually targetted bioweapons, a clear and present danger exposed by wikileaks when it revealed that the US state department had ordered its embassy staff to covertly collect DNA samples of foreign government officials.
Inflicting puncture wounds in order to steal blood for corporate government profit is assault and battery. Babies and mothers don’t give up their rights over their own bodies by stepping into a hospital. This is just more of the same criminality and brutality that american medicine has been imposing on babies for decades. They are just meat for the medical maw.