Dan King
Dan King · June 20, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va.—Today, a group of New Jersey parents vowed to continue their lawsuit challenging the state’s practice of drawing blood from every newborn in the state and retaining it without informed consent, after the state announced modest reforms to the program. The parents, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), filed the lawsuit in November 2023. 

“Until the state actually asks parents for their permission before retaining their baby’s blood, we’ll continue to fight against this policy in court,” said Boonton mother Erica Jedynak, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “Parents deserve to know what the government is doing with their children’s genetic information.” 

Under the state’s previous policy, the Department of Health (DOH) would draw samples from every baby without parental consent and hold onto the samples for 23 years. Additionally, there were no safeguards preventing the DOH from turning those samples over to police, private third parties, or any other agency that asked for access. Today’s modest reform reduces the number of years the state holds onto the samples from 23 to two, but still does not require the state to ask for informed consent before retaining the blood, nor does it implement safeguards for what the state can do with the samples.  

“This is a small step in the right direction, but the state is still refusing to do the one thing that will make its retention program constitutional: Ask parents for informed consent,” said IJ Attorney Brian Morris. “Obviously two years is better than 23 years, but the length of the retention is irrelevant if the state refuses to get informed consent from parents. Attorney General Plotkin had the chance to make this program constitutional, but this certainly does not achieve that.”