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MDHHS appeals ruling condemning aspects of its infant blood testing program

This July 2022 photo shows a lab in Lansing, Mich., where the state health department tests blood from newborns for more than 50 rare diseases.
Joey Cappelletti
A judge found key parts of Michigan’s newborn blood-testing program unconstitutional in a challenge by four parents who raised concerns about how leftover samples are used long after screening for rare diseases.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is appealing a federal court ruling over its infant blood sampling program.

It’s been longstanding state practice to screen blood samples from newborn babies for various medical conditions.

Last month, a federal district judge found the MDHHS may have violated the U.S. Constitution while storing and distributing some of those samples and related data without informed parental consent.

The argument rested on Fourth and 14th Amendment claims dealing with illegal searches and seizures as well as and equal protection.

The court ordered the department to give the plaintiffs the option of having the samples and data returned or destroyed or to provide informed consent.

Now, the state health department and its sampling facilities are appealing that ruling—saying the state is committed to protecting “the health and well-being of all Michigan’s residents.”

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