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Newborns DNA logged in database

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The Ellis County Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Newborn babies will be required to be screened for health conditions and the information to be stored in a national database, according to a federal law signed by President Bush on April 24.

The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007, sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, will require the federal government to "continue to carry out, coordinate and expand research in newborn screening" and "maintain a central clearinghouse of current information on newborn screening... ensuring that the clearinghouse is available on the Internet and is updated at least quarterly."

Critics of the bill have maligned the legislation as a step closer to having newborn babies’ DNA taken and stored. Free-market health advocates and Congressman Ron Paul, R-TX, have said as much, pointing to the national database on health screening as a precursor for DNA collections.

Ellis County’s congressional representative, Joe Barton, joined other House members on a voice vote, which was not put on the public record.

The bill originated in the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, however. Barton sits on the energy and commerce committee and once chaired the body.

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