Support the Genetic Information Nondiscrimation Act
by Jennifer Wider, MD
The United States Senate has unanimously passed S. 1053, the Genetic Information
Nondiscrimination Act. This landmark legislation would prevent insurers and
employers from using an individual's genetic predisposition to a disease as
a basis for denying them health coverage or a job. Health insurers would be
prohibited from using predictive genetic information to deny, change, refuse
or renew, or change the terms, premiums or conditions of coverage. Employers
would be barred from using this genetic information in making employment-related
decisions, such as those related to hiring, firing, or promotions.
Now it is time for the U.S. House of Representatives to take similar action
and pass S. 1053.
At this historic time, it is critical for genetic nondiscrimination legislation
to be passed and signed into law. As you know, scientists have completed deciphering
the DNA sequence of the human genetic code. This new knowledge is allowing doctors
to develop better ways to diagnose, prevent, or treat diseases. Without comprehensive
anti-discrimination legislation, patients will be reluctant to participate in
important clinical studies that require genetic testing and forgo life-saving
treatment-further impeding medical and scientific research. In order for genetic
research to fulfill its vast promise to improve the health of all Americans,
patients must be able to receive its benefits free from fear that their genetic
information will be used as a basis for discrimination in health insurance or
What can you do? You can contact your representative to urge them to support
S. 1053. Please either call or fax a letter to your Congressional representative.
For a sample letter drafted by the Women's Health Research Coalition or to find
how to reach your representative, click
The Society for Women's
Health Research is the nation's only not-for-profit organization
whose sole mission is to improve the health of women through research. Founded
in 1990, the Society brought to national attention the need for the appropriate
inclusion of women in major medical research studies and the resulting need
for more information about conditions affecting women. The Society advocates
increased funding for research on women's health, encourages the study of sex
differences that may affect the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease,
and promotes the inclusion of women in medical research studies. Dr. Donnica
Moore has been a member of the Society since 1990 and is a past member of its
Board of Directors.
Created: 10/15/2003  - Jennifer Wider, M.D.
Reviewed: 10/15/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.