FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Women's Health Leader Calls House Approval Of Genetic Nondiscrimination Legislation Important Breakthrough
Urges Speedy Senate Passage and White House Approval
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — April 25, 2007 — "After years of delay, today the House of Representatives took a major step forward by passing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. For the first time, this bill would establish federal standards to protect the privacy of genetic information and to prohibit genetic discrimination in health insurance and the workplace.
Genetic testing holds enormous promise. There are now genetic tests for hundreds of disorders, with potential for preventive treatment of such life-threatening diseases as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Many of the most widely available tests are for women. Unfortunately, many women avoid testing out of fear that their genetic information could cost them their jobs or the insurance coverage they need. Without the protection of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the same technologies that predict disease through genetic testing can open the door to discrimination.
Today’s vote is a strong statement that moves us toward the day when Americans will no longer fear that their genetic information will be used against them. We strongly urge the Senate and the White House to act promptly and follow the example set by the House of Representatives today by enacting this important, bipartisan legislation."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.