[MOL] Activists renew calls for genetic privacy law [03020] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Activists renew calls for genetic privacy law

Activists renew calls for genetic privacy law
    [06/28/2000; Boston Globe]

Activists, legislators, and biotech organizations yesterday urged
rapid action to protect the genetic privacy of individuals and
to ban discrimination based on genes, noting that such legislation
has stalled in Massachusetts and in Washington. Massachusetts
is one of 20 states that have not passed a genetic privacy bill.
The renewed calls for legislation follow the announcement Monday
that the human genetic blueprint has been nearly completed, clearing
the way for medical tests that could one day predict future health
and illness. ''This science holds tremendous promise, but many
Americans will refuse to take genetic tests unless they are assured
their information will remain private,'' said Representative
Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat who has for two years tried
to get a privacy safeguard bill through Congress. ''We want to
make sure health insurance companies and employers won't drop
people because they might, or might not, get sick at some point
in the future,'' said Slaughter, whose current genetic privacy
bill, cosponsored by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and three other
senators, remains stalled in a Republican-controlled committee.

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