NJ State Sued For Secretly Banking Baby Blood

Bridget Mulroy
NJ State Sued For Secretly Banking Baby BloodPhoto by(@sampsyseeds/iStock)
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the state of New Jersey, which calls NJ's testing and banking of newborn baby blood into question. As of now, “New Jersey does not obtain informed consent from the parents before taking blood from their newborn,” according to the official lawsuit (linked below.) This mandatory screening is pushed onto parents to test for genetic anomalies or illnesses. However, the state doesn't notify families if the samples are normal. Furthermore, “New Jersey keeps that blood from every baby born in the state for 23 years, all without parents’ knowledge or consent,” and the state “can use the blood however it wants.

Parents around the state are growing enraged and siding with the plaintiffs named in the suit since there is no transparency to how the state uses newborn blood samples. These concerns are valid since New Jersey gave samples of the banked baby blood to law enforcement in relation to a criminal investigation. In another alarming instance (since the screening takes place across the country,) the state of Texas sold samples of their banked baby blood to the Pentagon, where it’s been used to create a national registry.

In New Jersey, baby blood banking has taken place since the 1970s. Millions of samples have been collected by New Jersey over the years since (today) more than 100,000 babies are born in NJ each year. While the state claims to hold onto the samples for twenty-three years, the damage is done.

In short, the state’s unethical mismanagement of genetic material is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and a slew of other parental rights: it’s unconstitutional. Sonya Sumner, an esteemed attorney with Sumner Law with expertise in family law, further explains this dilemma the state of New Jersey is now facing.

“This lawsuit challenges a police practice that is on the fringe of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, and a decision on this issue will help define the contours of the right to be free from unlawful searches in the context of increasingly available personally identifying data, such as DNA. For years, law enforcement has utilized genetic data uploaded by users of genealogy and DNA services, but this practice of law enforcement to analyze data from persons who have not consented to such use and where the data is stored by function of law, presents an interesting question for the Court as technology progresses, and the amount of data available to law enforcement continues to increase. Where should the line be drawn to protect the constitutional rights of individuals?” – Sonya Sumner, Sumner Law LLP

Questions & Requests For Baby’s Blood To Be Pulled From NJ’s Blood Banks Can Be Addressed To:

  • Newborn Screening and Genetic Services Program Special Child, Health and Early Intervention Services New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 364, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0364
  • Call (609) 292-1582
  • Allen Bergum - E-mail: allen.bergum@doh.state.nj.us
  • Public Health and Environmental Laboratories, Inborn Errors of Metabolism Laboratory, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 371, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0371
  • Call (609) 292-4811

Full Lawsuit: https://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Lovaglio-Complaint.pdf

Info On Newborn Blood Screening: http://www.newbrunswickpediatricgroup.com/uploads/4/5/1/5/45155189/_newborn_screening.pdf

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Hi, I’m Bridget. I’m based in Red Bank, New Jersey, Calabasas, California, & Manhattan, New York. I cover geology, seismology, botany, biology, & community news. USGS Verified ✅

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