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New legislation would have DNA of all newborns tested

A new proposal coming from a New Jersey assembly may have some worried about their privacy. The legislation would have all newborn children take a DNA test to determine if the mother and father of the child are really who they say they are.

The change in family law, if this legislation were to pass, would likely be a dramatic one. It would transform obstetricians across the state into collectors of DNA. These records would likely be given to a public agency, but would it be secure there?

The intentions behind the proposal are much less dystopian than the legislation sounds. According to the assemblyman, this would allow child support and child custody disputes to be resolved much sooner than ever before. In fact, it may allow some people that are not the parents of the child they are being ordered to pay support on to avoid the long-term costs of doing so.

This has happened before. The state assemblyman said that he has heard several different stories about parents paying child support for years, only to find out later that the child was never theirs to begin with.

In the bill, it does state that individuals who result in a zero chance of parentage can escape the responsibility of child support. This may mean that a parent that has already begun paying child support may no longer have to do so, if a DNA test returns the corresponding results.

On the other side of the benefits, this system could ensure that parents who choose not to pay support -- believing that the child is not of their own flesh and blood -- could be forced to do so, based on the DNA testing that the baby was subjected to at birth.

Despite the potential effects that this bill could have on the legal system, it will not likely be considered. The amount of money and time it would cost to put the system into place -- not to mention the invasion of privacy that some see it as -- will likely get in the way of it ever becoming a law.

Source: NJ.com, "Bad idea for N.J. to get all babies' DNA," March 7, 2012

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