“Today the United States Senate took an important step toward allowing Americans to realize the full promise of emerging medical technologies when it passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. For the first time, this bill will establish comprehensive federal standards to protect the privacy of genetic information and to prohibit genetic discrimination in health insurance and the workplace. Today’s passage by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is a critical and badly needed step forward.
Genetic testing holds tremendous promise to prevent health problems and help people cope more effectively with conditions that are unavoidable. Unfortunately, the same technologies that predict disease through genetic testing and family history can open the door to discrimination. Americans should not have to fear that their genetic information will be used to prevent them from getting the jobs or the coverage they need.
The National Partnership for Women & Families strongly urges the full Senate and the House of Representatives to pass this critical legislation, to make genetic nondiscrimination a reality. We join dozens of groups representing patients, people with disabilities and consumers, as well as leading women’s health, civil rights and other organizations, in urging speedy action to ensure that this bill becomes law.
Nobody should have to choose between the benefits of genetic testing and keeping a job or health insurance. We applaud this critical victory and look forward to a future where the promise of genetic technology is fulfilled for all Americans.”