Massachusetts Lawmakers Unveil New Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Lawmakers Unveil New Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 30
, 2005

Boston, MA ( — Massachusetts lawmakers have unveiled new legislation to promote embryonic stem cell research, but the measure may not be able to overcome an expected veto by Governor Mitt Romney.

State senators announced the bill on Tuesday, which affirms the state’s support for the controversial research and requires scientists wanting to destroy human embryos to obtain a license from the Department of Public Health.

The measure also sets fines of as much as $1 million for violating its provisions.

The Senate is expected to approve the measure Thursday, according to a Boston Globe report, and the state House will likely pass it shortly afterwards.

However, leading lawmakers told the Globe that they don’t believe they have enough votes to override Romney’s veto.

Earlier this month, they claimed they did and Senate President Robert Travaglini predicted the state legislature would have the necessary two-thirds votes to override a veto.

"We’re already at two-thirds," he told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Romney reiterated his opposition to embryonic stem cell research on Tuesday.

”If you create an embryo, a human embryo, which if you implant it in a woman could become a human child, you have created new human life," Romney said. ”It’s not breathing yet, but it’s life."

Romney also blasted a television commercial financed by former Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Chris Gabrieli which claims Romney opposes all forms of stem cell research. The governor backs research that uses adult stem cells, which have already produced dozens of cures and treatments.

Joe Ganley, a spokesman for Gabrieli confirmed to the Globe that WCVB-TV asked him to change the wording of the ad.

Pro-life organizations spoke out against the bill at a hearing last month.

"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.

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