Massachusetts Bill Would Promote "Clone and Kill" Embryonic Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 29, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Bill Would Promote "Clone and Kill" Embryonic Research

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
October 29
, 2003

Boston, MA ( — Massachusetts’ Senate President Robert Travaglini (D-Boston) is looking to sneak a bill promoting destructive embryonic stem cell research into annual legislation putting the state budget in place.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Travaglini said that by attaching an embryonic stem cell research proposal to the economic stimulus package the bill has a greater chance to become law. He claims that it will boost the state’s biotechnology industry and keep existing companies in Massachusetts.

Rep. Mark Carron (D-Southbridge) told that adding such a socially controversial proposal to an economic stimulus package would create "disdain and distaste."

"I think it would be a mistake to isolate and identify stem cell research from the biotechnology industry as a whole," said Rep. Carron said. "It adds controversy to something for which we all need to be working toward together."

Pro-life groups don’t like the legislation either.

"Senator Travaglini’s proposal is an unconscionable maneuver; it is an underhanded way of attempting to fund and validate the stem cell industry by approaching it from a purely economic standpoint," said Marie Sturgis, executive and legislative director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. "Given what is at stake, this issue deserves to be debated honestly and openly on its own merit and should not be hidden in a budget or plan using the Commonwealth’s economy as a cover. This is human life we are talking about."

"Asking taxpayers to provide tax breaks, incentives or subsidize the sacrificing valuable human lives in a billion dollar industry in the name of economic recovery is ludicrous," concluded Sturgis.

The research proposal is similar to a bill debated by the state legislature in May, but never left committee. The bill would have created a fund to finance embryonic stem cell research projects in Massachusetts. Travaglini’s economic proposal would require $110 million in financing, which it would use from the state’s tobacco settlement funds.

The House proposed their own economic stimulus package in July, also using the tobacco funds. If the Senate passes’ Travaglini’s proposal, a joint committee will review the plans and create a compromise.

Travaglini’s proposal, as well as its failed predecessor, explicitly permits the use of frozen human embryos in research, but would prohibit cloning.

Pro-life groups oppose embryonic stem cell research because it destroys human life. They support the use of adult stem cells, which are both more ethical and more effective.

Biotechnology leaders were pleased with the announcement, as they have lobbied the state to promote the research since California passed their own bill supporting stem cell research in 2002.

Related web sites:
Massachusetts Citizens for Life –