President Bush Calls for Genetic Privacy Bill
President Bush on Wednesday called on Congress to pass legislation to ensure the privacy of genetic testing results, the New York Times reports.
Experts say safeguarding genetic privacy would encourage millions of U.S. residents to undergo testing for cancers and other diseases that could lead to earlier detection and treatment, the Times reports.
In 2003, a genetic privacy bill that passed unanimously in the Senate was rejected in the House. The bill (HR 493) was reintroduced in the House this week (Stolberg, New York Times, 1/18). The legislation would prohibit employers or insurance companies from using genetic testing results against individuals and their children.
Bush, speaking at NIH, said, "If a person is willing to share his or her genetic information, it is important that that information not be exploited in improper ways, and Congress can pass good legislation to prevent that from happening." He added, "In other words, we want medical research to go forward without an individual fearing of personal discrimination" (Riechmann, AP/Washington Post, 1/17).