Massachusetts Could Follow California Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Could Follow California Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 11, 2004

Boston, Massachusetts ( — With California voters approving a $6 billion measure funding the use of human cloning to create and kill human embryos for research, Massachusetts lawmakers are worried that the state will fall behind as the national leader in allowing scientists to engage in the unproven research.

With the next legislative session set to begin in January, Massachusetts legislators are ready to up the ante with legislation to require taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Incoming House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi supports the use of embryonic stem cells, a contrast to outgoing House Speaker Thomas Finneran. Meanwhile, Senate President Robert Travaglini says he plans to reintroduce legislation funding the destructive research.

”At the very least it will be legislation that shows the Massachusetts biotech community that the state unambiguously supports this kind of research," Travaglini spokeswoman Ann Dufresne told the Boston Globe.

Last year, a measure to fund the destructive research was taken out of the state budget at the last minute after the state Senate included it. Finneran then bottled up a bill to authorize the funding.

However, because of an expected $1 billion deficit in the next budget, lawmakers may be unwilling to spend significant money on the unproven research this time around too.

”I don’t know that this is the time to put out the money," state Rep. Peter Koutoujian said.

Pro-life groups say they will fight against allowing tax money to be used to destroy human life for research that hasn’t produced any benefits.

"Embryonic stem cell research has not created one cure,” Evelyn Reilly, policy director of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told the Boston Herald newspaper. "There is no need to destroy embryonic human beings.”

In fact, after two decades of research, embryonic stem cells have yet to cure any patients. On the other hand, the use of adult stem cells has produced 140 treatments for patients suffering from diseases and ailments.

Representatives of Governor Mitt Romney told the Globe he has not decided whether he would sign legislation authorizing taxpayer funding of the research and will wait to announce a position until he can review proposed legislation.

Two companies in the state conduct work on embryonic stem cells: ViaCell Inc. in Cambridge and Advanced Cell Technology Inc. in Worcester.

Robert Lanza, medical director for ACT, told the Associated Press, "California and Massachusetts are in a biotech race, and Massachusetts needs to step up to the plate."

ACT has announced plans to open up a facility in California to compete with other biotech companies and research universities for a share of the money generated from Proposition 71.

Related web sites:
Massachusetts Citizens for Life –
Massachusetts State Legislature –