Massachusetts Taxpayers Won’t Pay for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 15, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Taxpayers Won’t Pay for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
June 15, 2004

Boston, MA ( — The Massachusetts legislature finished a compromised budget Tuesday morning, but a provision promoting embryonic stem cell research was not included.

The measure would have made it Massachusetts state policy to encourage the research on cloned human embryos, which results in the destruction of human life.

Senate President Robert Travaglini (D-Boston), who had inserted similar language last year in an economic stimulus bill, will likely re-introduce the measure as a separate bill.

"It is and will continue to be his priority," Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) told the Associated Press. "We want to be very careful that we … meet the concerns of the industry and what they’re doing and we also meet the concerns of the people who are concerned about the ethics and the morals of the issue."

House members had circulated a letter this month urging Speaker Thomas Finneran (R-Boston) not to block the embryonic stem cell language. Finneran has argued that the issue needs full debate.

“There is a great deal of unawareness of this issue ethically, medically, scientifically and Massachusetts needs to undergo a great deal of discovery on this issue. Certainly we want to get it right," said Finneran.

A leading pro-life organization is delighted by the decision and expects further battles to stop lawmakers from forcing taxpayers to pay for research that takes human lives.

“Massachusetts Citizens for Life is pleased that the embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) provision was dropped from the state budget,” said Marie Sturgis, executive director of the organization. “Proponents continue to raise this issue using whatever means necessary to legalize and fund embryonic stem cell research. Supporters of ESCR continue to put the focus solely on these tiny human embryos and not where it should be – on other ethical forms of stem cell research which have shown far more success.

“This once again was a prudent move on the part of our lawmakers, burying what is recognized as a highly controversial issue in our state budget is deceptive and dangerous,” added Sturgis. “The end never justifies the means; these tiny humans are just as valuable as those who walk our streets.”

Massachusetts legislators have been trying to promote embryonic stem cell research in recent months.

Last year, the Massachusetts Senate tried to add a provision to an economic stimulus bill that would allow and fund destructive human stem cell research. While the Senate approved the bill 37-3, including votes of support from pro-life senators, the provision was removed during the creation of a compromise bill with the House.

In March legislation was proposed by pro-abortion Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), to ban human reproductive cloning but create a Stem Cell Research Trust Fund, which would provide grants to both for profit and not for profit research organizations participating in embryonic stem cell research.

Continuing to violate the pro-life legacy of Ronald Reagan Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry cited the death of the former president in challenging President Bush to lift restrictions on taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research last week.

Related web sites:
Massachusetts State Legislature –
Speaker of the House Finneran –