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Clinton seeks ban on genetic discrimination

14 February 2000
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 45

US President Bill Clinton has signed an executive order that bars federal agencies from using genetic information to discriminate against employees. He has also given his backing to pending senate bills that aim to prevent private sector employers and insurers from doing the same.

Clinton said it was time to consider the consequences of the rapid progress in human genetics. 'This extraordinary march of human understanding imposes on us a profound responsibility to make sure that the age of discovery can continue to reflect our most treasured values', he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science last week.

The order prohibits federal employers from using or requesting genetic tests as a condition of being hired or receiving benefits. Employers would also be prohibited from denying promotion or overseas posts to employees because of genetic predisposition for a certain illness.

Although only a handful of discriminatory incidents have so far been reported in the US, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the order looked ahead five years to a time when a person's genetic make-up may be readily available. 'By signing this order' Clinton said, 'my goal is to set an example and pose a challenge for every employer in America because I believe no employer should ever review your genetics records along with your resume.'

Clinton puts ban on misuse of gene tests
The Guardian |  9 February 2000
Clinton seeks ban on genetic discrimination
The Washington Post |  8 February 2000
30 November 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
After almost ten happy years as a BioNews editor, this issue will be my last. I started working for Progress Educational Trust (PET) in February 2000, nearly a year after BioNews was launched by Juliet Tizzard, the first PET director. In my first week, I remember thinking how useful a news digest of developments in the fast-moving areas of genetics and assisted reproduction was - and what a fascinating job it was going to be. But at the same time, I privately wondered whether there would be q...
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