Parents fight after discovering that the state keeps their children’s blood secret for 23 years

After attorneys were unable to come to an agreement, the three New Jersey parents who sued the state government for storing their children’s blood in storage without their consent will now get their day in court.

Hannah Lovaglio, Erica Jedynak, and Jeremiah Jedynak claimed that the New Jersey Department of Health had violated their constitutional rights by gathering samples for “a creepy database” in a class action complaint that was submitted in November of last year.

Unless the baby’s parents object on religious grounds, New Jersey, like every other US state, mandates that all hospitals collect a pinprick of blood from every newborn baby to screen for genetic disorders.

Nevertheless, the Garden State keeps its remaining blood for 23 years in a temperature-controlled facility, even though Texas, Minnesota, and Michigan were recently forced to stop doing this due to legal action.

The lawsuit claims that the blood is likely being shared with and maybe sold to third parties, including researchers, pharmaceutical corporations, law enforcement agencies, or even the Pentagon, even though officials have not provided an explanation for why the blood being stored.

“We suggested a simple resolution that would request parental approval for any blood retention following the conclusion of the preliminary testing,” stated Brian Morris from the libertarian non-profit Institute of Justice (IoJ), which is providing funds for the legal action.

However, the state disregarded our written request and insisted on keeping blood after the testing was finished without first getting permission from the parents.

“If the state won’t agree to implement a constitutionally sound retention program, we’re happy to have a court make them.”

The New Jersey Department of Health has not replied to the case in court, nor did it promptly address The Independent’s request for comment.

In 2022, news broke that state health officials had given samples to law enforcement investigators looking for DNA evidence without a warrant, drawing attention to New Jersey’s blood retention policy.

In 2009, the Texas state government settled a lawsuit concerning its newborn screening program by agreeing to delete approximately 5.3 million baby blood samples.

Several experts contended at the time that the choice would negatively impact upcoming studies on uncommon birth abnormalities and other uncommon illnesses.

However, The Texas Tribune reported in 2010 that state officials had surreptitiously given blood samples to medical researchers and the US Department of Defense, which aimed to create a national DNA database to aid in the recovery of missing persons and the solving of cold cases.

“On information and belief, [the plaintiffs] expect that New Jersey is likewise turning over their children’s blood from its newborn blood stockpile to third parties including the Pentagon,” the IoJ’s lawsuit alleged.

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