House Approves Revamp Of Newborn Screening Consent

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House has approved a new approach to parental consent for newborn blood samples used to test for genetic and congenital disorders.

The chamber adopted language Thursday requiring health authorities to give parents more information before they either consent to having their babies’ blood drawn or opt out of the newborn screening program. Republican Rep. Mary Liz Holberg of Lakeville says parents will be contacted through prenatal classes and pediatricians’ offices instead of at hospitals to give them more space to decide.

The bill also spells out how long the Health Department can keep blood samples — 71 days for negative tests and two years for positive tests.

The Minnesota Supreme Court last year ordered the agency to destroy newborn blood samples, siding with parents who objected to the program.

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