Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Michigan Stole Blood of 5M Newborns, Parents' Lawsuit Claims

Few feelings rival the intensity with which parents seek to protect their children. From the helpless stages of infancy well into adulthood, parents try to guard against germs, sharp corners, bad influences, inadequate love interests, and poor life choices. In Michigan, one group of parents is trying to protect their children from the overreach of the state. Their lawsuit claims that Michigan took and stored the blood of over 5 million newborns without consent.

Blood Draws for Health Research

As attorney Philip Ellison found out after his son was born in September, the state requires that each newborn have their blood drawn and stored. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says this practice is for health research. The lawsuits filed by Ellison and others don't seek to stop this research, but to restore parental consent to a practice affecting their children.

Drawing and Storing Blood Without Consent Is Unconstitutional

The class action lawsuit filed by Ellison claims Michigan began collecting this newborn blood in the 1960s, and started storing excess blood in 1984. The lawsuit says this practice is unconstitutional because parents weren't asked for consent to draw the blood in the first place, much less store it indefinitely. He also alleges that there are no safeguards in place to prevent others, such as law enforcement, from accessing the information.

Parental and individual rights are important. If you think someone has infringed your rights as a parent or those of your children, it may be time to talk to an attorney.

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