A New Era Begins: New Law Will Let Americans Realize the Promise of Genetic Testing
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — May 21, 2008 —
“In signing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act into law today, President Bush joined Congress to make real the promise of genetic testing for millions of people in this country. It was a long time coming, but lawmakers have now put in place the protections patients need to get genetic tests with confidence that the results will not be used to deny them the jobs and health insurance they need. This is a good day for our nation.
Genetic testing holds enormous promise. From diabetes to Parkinson’s to certain cancers, it can identify a predisposition to disease and direct patients to the prevention that can help keep them healthier. But until now, Americans have been forced to choose between being tested to learn whether they need preventive care, or avoiding tests for fear that their genetic information will cost them their jobs or their health insurance. At long last, those days are over.
The federal standards this law establishes will protect the privacy of genetic information, and prohibit discrimination in both the workplace and insurance based on genetic test results. We commend all the lawmakers who supported this bill, as well as the advocates who fought tirelessly for years for its enactment.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.