We’re From the Government and We’re Here to Help You!

The ongoing battle between parents and the state regarding parental rights manifested itself recently in a lawsuit by parents against the state of Texas over blood samples taken from over five million newborn babies without the knowledge or consent of the parents.

As is usually the case in these kinds of issues, some bureaucrat(s) decided that it would be good to do this and establish a database for the purpose of research. It was only when a lawsuit was filed, and the public became aware of the situation, that the State Department of Health Services (SDHS) decided they should cooperate to find a way to let parents give their permission for this.

After the plantiffs agreed to this alternative, the news broke that the SDHS had already given hundreds of samples to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for research. The state decided to settle the case before discovery, some believe to prevent the public from knowing more about what had been done.

This sounds very similar to battles in the legislature a few years ago over the issue of immunization. Liberals were trying to pass a bill that would have mandated immunization of children, and we worked very hard to allow those who wished to be exempt from this process on the basis of parental rights that option.

In the same bill, a database was to be developed; we had to fight very hard to make that database an “opt in” so that parents had to give their permission, while the authors wanted to make it an “opt out” procedure so that parents had to make the request, which would make the process more difficult. At that time Representative Rick Green was one of our heroes who fought for parental rights on this issue. Just another reason he deserves our support in his runoff race for Texas Supreme Court.

Comments

  1. timthsc says

    There are links regarding the issues related to the SDHS. If you are asking regarding the issues related to immunizations, here is a quote from a 2002 article in the Houston Chronicle that is no longer online:

    Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, questioned the depth of Perry's commitment. He said the governor supports letting parents practice "conscientious objection" to the immunization of their children. Such an idea, Coleman argued, could make immunization rates far worse.

    "Perry participated as lieutenant governor on a Health Department panel that included doctors, lawmakers and other interested parties to study "conscientious objection" to immunizations between the 1999 and 2001 sessions."

    "Coleman said he killed a resulting bill by Rep. Rick Green, R-Dripping Springs, that would have allowed families to opt out of mandatory immunizations without the need to cite religious or medical reasons."

    Rick worked in the next session to help pass HB 2292. He has long been an ardent proponent of defending the right of parents to make decisions for their children.

  2. Anonymous says

    Is there a way to opt out of the immunization database, once you have given consent?

    Do you know what years the blood samples were taken in?

    Thank you so much for all your information and support of parental rights!!!

  3. timthsc says

    You should be able to contact them in writing and tell them you wish to rescind your consent. If you have problems with that contact your state legislators to help you.

  4. timthsc says

    By way of correction, it is the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) instead of the State Department of Health Services.

  5. timthsc says

    As to years the samples were taken:

    "Texas has screened infants for birth defects for decades, pricking their heels and collecting drops of blood on paper cards. Starting in 2002, the state health department began storing the blood spots for “research into selected diseases” but never notified parents of the change. When a group of parents learned last year that their babies’ blood was being stored without their consent, they sued DSHS." – Texas Tribune

    So this happened between 2002 and 2009.

  6. Kara says

    For anyone with a question about the immunization registry, I encourage you to also contact Dawn Richardson at PROVE (just google Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education). She's been working hard over the last 12 years with the Legislature on these immunization issues and is well informed about the specifics of how the registry works.

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