Massachusetts Legislators Hold Heading on Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Legislators Hold Heading on Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16, 2005

Boston, MA ( — Opponents and proponents of a bill to authorizing millions for controversial embryonic stem cell research showed up at a packed hearing on Tuesday.

Senate President Robert Travaglini, the lead sponsor of the bill, told the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies the legislation would help researchers find cures for diseases.

However, pro-life advocates said such research shouldn’t be conducted by destroying human life and emphasized that alternatives such as adult stem cell research are available.

"Embryonic stem cells can only be obtained by destroying the human embryo,” said Maria Parker, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. "The human embryo, however it is created, is an actual, real human being.”

"We all know, apart from any religious teaching, that it is morally wrong to kill another human being,” Parker added.

According to a Boston Herald report, Travaglini believes the bill will pass in the state Senate, which strongly backed similar legislation last year. The bill failed when former Speaker Thomas Finneran stopped the bill in the House

Making it more difficult for Massachusetts legislators to pass the bill, Governor Mitt Romney says he will propose legislation that would prohibit destroying human embryos for research in the state.

Governor Romney previously indicated he supports stem cell research in general, but had not explained whether he supported the more controversial use of embryonic stem cells.

In an interview last week, Romney said he opposed the research, which has yet to cure any patients as adult stem cells have.

"Some of the practices that Harvard and probably other institutions in Massachusetts are engaged in cross the line of ethical conduct," Romney said.

"My wife has M.S., and we would love for there to be a cure for her disease and for the diseases of others," Romney added, "but there is an ethical boundary that should not be crossed."

Romney indicated he would oppose Travaglini’s bill and propose one of his own prohibiting embryonic stem cell research.

Other pro-life groups also oppose Travaglini’s legislation.

"We are concerned that this puts human life in the hands of biotech firms and scientists. This is an attack on the integrity and dignity of the human being,” Marie Sturgis, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, told the Associated Press. "Senator Travaglini was at one time an embryo as we all were. An embryo is a human being.”

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