Dayton signs bill to indefinitely retain newborn screening samples

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ST. PAUL — Minnesota health officials have regained the ability to indefinitely retain blood samples from newborn babies unless a parent refuses permission.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday signed the bill lawmakers approved last week. The issue has divided a medical community that says the blood spots can help identify disorders and privacy advocates who worry about warehousing of DNA.

The new law bans the sale of the samples and any related test results and data.

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The action comes in the wake of a 2011 Supreme Court ruling and subsequent settlement that resulted in the destruction of more than 1 million blood samples stored under the prior Minnesota newborn screening program.