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Letter: Swails supports healthy babies

In last week's Bulletin Kira Nowicki demanded a response from Marsha Swails. Ms. Nowicki then proceeded to try to link Ms. Swails' recent vote in the Minnesota House with Nazi war criminals, Communists, and plots to cause AIDS.

In order to save Rep. Swails some time I will try to answer the question that Ms. Nowicki tried to ask.

Legislation proposed by the Governor and supported by a broad coalition of medical professionals and parents asked for the continued testing of Minnesota newborns for 54 disorders that can cause severe disabilities and even death.

The test that many of you may know is known as "the PKU test" takes a drop of blood from the heel. It has been performed on newborns for over 40 years and has eliminated many forms of mental retardation and suffering for many families.

Families who object to their infants benefitting from this simple life-saving test can opt out of it.

Folks, with the clear thinking that Ms. Nowicki exhibits, claim that this testing represents the theft of DNA from babies by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Thanks to their lobbying the bill did not pass the Senate. So Rep. Swails' vote did not result in a change in the law after all.

The future of newborn screening and the benefits that it brings to individuals, their families, and the rest of us Minnesotans are unclear.

You might like to thank Rep. Swails for her support of healthy babies and ask her to continue to do so when she returns to the capitol.

Beth-Ann Bloom