skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Bill in NE would allow parents to 'opt out' of newborn screenings

play audio
Play

Wednesday, February 21, 2024   

Every state has been screening newborns for several decades, usually performing a heel-prick blood test, a hearing test and a heart check.

Several disorders diagnosed through newborn screenings can be treated and their effects significantly reduced when caught early.

Sen. Ben Hansen, R-Blair, said Nebraska is one of only three states without a provision for parents to "opt out" of newborn screening for religious or other reasons. His bill, Legislative Bill 1060, would change that.

Hansen noted constituents brought this issue to his attention, pointing out refusing the screenings can result in a lawsuit, lack of a birth certificate and even the possibility of the state taking a child away.

"That kind of philosophically goes against my idea of a parent's liberty to either object or accept doing a test such as this," Hansen explained.

In 2008, Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services temporarily removed a child from parents who refused the newborn screening based on their religious beliefs. The case reached the Nebraska Supreme Court, which determined the state's mandated screenings do not violate the free exercise of religion provisions in the Nebraska Constitution. The court noted the screenings test for conditions which, untreated, "can lead to mental disabilities, loss of hearing, loss of vision, irreversible brain damage, or death."

Hansen stressed his bill only leads to a change in the state's newborn screening protocol if the parents or guardians specifically request it.

"Only if the parent actually engages with the hospital or the doctor and says, 'Hey, look, I do not want this test on my child,'" Hansen emphasized. "It's not like when you go to the hospital to have a baby, the doctor says, 'OK, so do you want to have this test done?' They don't even ask that question; it's just done."

Julie Luedtke managed Nebraska's Newborn Screening Program for 24 years before retiring. She is concerned about treatable disorders being missed if parents opt out of newborn screenings.

"Every year, just in Nebraska, somewhere between 50 and 60 babies with one of these clinically significant diseases gets identified, and gets into treatment, and has these terrible things prevented," Luedtke stressed.

When she managed the screening program, Luedtke surveyed her peers in states with an "opt out" provision, asking whether any babies whose parents opted out of the screenings were later found to have disorders. She noted there were a number of them, including a baby who died at eight days of age from galactosemia, the inability to process the sugar galactose present in breast milk, cow's milk and other dairy products.

"She's feeding her baby, not knowing that's basically killing the baby," Luedtke recounted. "If they'd done the screen and gotten the results back, they'd know to get that baby changed right away and onto a soy formula, and the baby would have been fine. Sadly, that baby died."

The measure had its first hearing on Jan. 31 in the Health and Human Services Committee. As yet, no further action has been taken.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
Marine research on a recent expedition off of Santa Cruz Island in Southern California mapped the habitat of red gorgonian coral, sea stars and sheepshead fish. (Danny Ocampo/Oceana)

Environment

play sound

Marine researchers just wrapped up the first of three ocean expeditions off the coast of Southern California to map the biodiversity and support effor…


Social Issues

play sound

Michigan's population has hovered around the 10 million mark for the past 20+ years, but the state's latest report outlines projections of a …

Health and Wellness

play sound

More skin cancers are diagnosed than all other cancers combined and one in five Americans will have some type of skin cancer by age 70. Nebraska is …


The current lack of cohesive planning has made building new transmission lines difficult, prompting FERC's new rule. (Gregory Johnston/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

A new step from the federal government takes a step toward modernizing the process for building energy transmission lines - while also protecting wild…

Social Issues

play sound

Americans got a bit of a reprieve last month, as food and auto prices dipped for the first time in 90 days. As Texas households continue to deal …

Black women are at particularly high risk of heart disease and stroke during pregnancy, which TaShenma Mack found out firsthand before the birth of her daughter. (Photo courtesy of TaShenma Mack)

Health and Wellness

play sound

North Carolina's maternal death rate is higher than the national average and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among new moms in th…

play sound

The effect of technical glitches in overhauling the student financial-aid form known as FAFSA is still being felt. Issues stemming from a redesign …

Social Issues

play sound

A newly passed Connecticut bill will modernize the teacher certification process. House Bill 5436 is expected to make it easier for educators to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021