NIH Press Alert
National Human Genome Research Institute

Thursday, February 18, 1999

News Media are Invited to Attend a Workshop on the Implications
for Asymptomatic Genetic Conditions of a Supreme Court Decision

The National Action Plan on Breast Cancer and the National Human Genome Research Institute are sponsoring a workshop February 19, 1999, in Washington, DC, to address the complex, unique, and potentially controversial questions regarding asymptomatic genetic conditions raised by a Supreme Court decision last year. In Bragdon v. Abbott, the Court ruled that a healthy HIV-positive woman was considered disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and thereby protected from discrimination in her health care. Using breast cancer as a case study, the workshop will explore how that ruling affects legal protections for healthy individuals who may have a genetic predisposition to a later illness.

A mock trial will highlight the workshop, during which disability rights arguments will be heard from both the plaintiff and defendantís point of view. The Honorable Gladys Kessler will preside and decide on the case. Other workshop panels will discuss legal and psychosocial aspects of being considered disabled, as well as other policy implications.

There is no cost for registration, but space is limited. For more information, contact the Office of Communications, NHGRI, at 301-402-0911. To register, contact Michele Dillon, R.O.W. Sciences, 301-294-5469.