We recently noted that Massachusetts is considering the adoption of a Genetic Bill of Rights. At least two more states are now preparing to consider similar legislation.
The text of Vermont's "act relating to privacy of genetic information" is linked here. It's sponsored by Reps. Christopher Pearson and Suzi Wizowaty. There is an analysis of it by the Forum on Genetic Equity here [PDF]. It's very similar in effect to the Massachusetts bill.
In California, Senator Alex Padilla has introduced Senate Bill 559 "which would prohibit discrimination based on genetic information in California." The full text is here. It expands upon the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, etc., by adding genetic discrimination as another category. Padilla's announcement specifically notes that:
In the early 1900's, the early science of genetics became the basis of state laws that provided for the sterilization of people who had presumed genetic "defects" such as mental retardation, mental disease, epilepsy, blindness, and hearing loss, among other conditions.
Padilla has been involved with these issues for a while now. He has worked closely with 23andMe to introduce a 2009 bill (never passed) and to co-host a 2010 policy forum. It is heartening to see his sensitivity to California's sordid history of eugenics. However, it remains true that Federal legislation is required.
Previously on Biopolitical Times:
Posted in Human Rights, Personal genomics, Pete Shanks's Blog Posts, The States, US Federal
Comments are now closed for this item.