Key committee passes bill to add SMA, SCID to newborn screenings
The House Committee on Ways and Means voted Monday in favor of State Rep. Douglas Gutwein’s (R-Francesville) bill that works to save the lives of children by adding two new tests to Indiana’s newborn screening panel.
Gutwein’s legislation would require spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, and severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, to be added to the list of screenings newborns get in Indiana shortly after their births.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a severe genetic disorder that alters the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord. Those cells, once affected by SMA, will not regenerate, which then results in muscle weakness and can eventually lead to the inability to walk, talk, swallow and breathe.
Gutwein said newborn screenings identify diseases in babies shortly after their births, providing opportunities for early interventions that can prevent death or the need for long-term care. In Indiana, newborns are tested for 47 conditions, including sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, hearing loss and critical congenital heart disease.
Gutwein’s bill can now be considered by the full House.