Bill in state Legislature aims to protect DNA samples taken from newborns

A bill being considered by the state Legislature would protect DNA samples taken from newborns.

News 12 Staff

Sep 30, 2022, 12:05 AM

Updated 621 days ago

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A bill being considered by the state Legislature would protect DNA samples taken from newborns.
The bill has bipartisan support. It would prevent police officers from using the newborn’s DNA without a warrant to build a criminal case against a relative.
“You should be getting a warrant, particularly when you’re talking about dried blood spots from a newborn baby that are kept for years,” says state Assemblyman Raj Mukherji.
New Jersey state police are particularly accused of using blood samples from a newborn to compare DNA profiles with family members to make a criminal case.
“We don’t think that infant DNA should be used unless you’re going before a court and getting a warrant,” says Mukherji.
The bill passed a State House committee with bipartisan support on Thursday. Mukherji, who sponsored the bill, admits it's still a work in progress.
“The purpose is not to hinder the use of technology and DNA evidence, but why would we be circumventing judicial scrutiny?” asks Mukherji.
It has been standard procedure for years for the state Health Department to collect blood from newborns to test for a variety of diseases. The samples are kept for up to 23 years.
“Infant DNA, if you’re going to keep it for 23 years, parents should be informed about that. They should be consenting to that,” says Mukherji.
The bill says the DNA can be used to establish the identity of a person who has died or to determine paternity.


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