According to the head of the council's health committee, the plan didn't get enough votes from members of the council due to several factors. These include the fact that many of them believe the kingdom's Board of Genetic Diseases is the only authority that should handle the decision to expand genetic testing.
Another issue members had with the proposal was that it doesn't "align with global procedures since they don't include drug and mental health examinations when it comes to premarital tests."
The now-rejected scheme was proposed by council member Iqbal Darandari; it aimed at protecting Saudi families. In her proposal, the official had called on the country's Ministry of Health to expand its existing list of mandatory tests couples have to undergo before tying the knot.
She explained that these exams must include drug tests, mental health assessments, and advanced genetic testing.
Days before the proposal was rejected, sources who spoke to Al Riyadh newspaper expected it to fail, explaining that the council's health committee wasn't favorably looking at it.
News of the rejection went around Saudi social media and polarized opinions surfaced. Those who rallied for the passing of the proposal were disappointed in the council's decision and thought it was a misstep, while others defended the council's move.
Some Saudis were shocked by the proposal's rejection
Others were outraged
"They also refused a proposal related to the sexual harassment of children. I've lost hope in them. Each person who turned down this proposal needs an urgent assessment."
"And the result? Divorce rates go up. The drug tests are very important, at least pass that"
"I just want to know one reason that made them reject this"
"Proposals like this one shouldn't be voted on, they must be immediately implemented"
Not everyone was upset the proposal was turned down, though
"This is the right thing to do. Premarital medical testing is done to protect families from hereditary and genetic illnesses. They're not made to intrude on people's personal lives and violate their human rights."
Some thought the council's decision made sense
"I think they rejected it because it's costly for the Ministry of Health to conduct such exams. Some of these tests are also useless. A drug addict can go a few days without drugs if they know they're getting the test done before marriage, that's except if they're using hash because its traces remain in the blood, at least that's what I read."