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Abstract

This Comment presents background information concerning genetic information and genetic testing. Section III then argues that privacy and autonomy are significant policy issues in connection with genetic information. As a result, the decision to have genetic testing performed should be an individual's choice, and genetic testing should never be compelled. Section IV argues that the failure to give genetic information special protection in the law has potentially harmful consequences. Section V surveys current efforts to protect genetic privacy, both by the federal government and states other than Washington. Section V also analyzes the current state of medical records privacy protection in Washington and argues that the current state law is inadequate to protect genetic privacy and to prevent genetic discrimination. Finally, Section VI presents a substantive proposal for a Genetic Privacy Act in Washington, which would protect individual privacy, prohibit compelled testing, and prevent genetic discrimination. This comment concludes that under current state law Washington citizens risk losing genetic privacy and experiencing genetic discrimination. Consequently, the legislature should enact a Genetic Privacy Act to ensure both protection of genetic privacy and prevention of genetic discrimination in Washington.