by Steven Ertelt
May 6, 2005
Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) — The Massachusetts state House has endorsed legislation that would promote embryonic stem cell research. The move, coming after the Senate backed the bill, sets up an expected veto from Republican Governor Mitt Romney.
Though Romney will veto the bill, lawmakers are expected to have enough votes to override it. The House approved the measure on a 119 to 38 vote after the Senate agreed to it 34-2.
State House members who want to uphold the veto need 55 votes to do so, which would require some legislators to change their minds.
Lawmakers favoring the bill said embryonic stem cell research could yield cures for diseases, even though it has yet to cure a single patient. Those opposing the measure say such research is problematic because it destroys human life. They point to adult stem cells, which comes from numerous more ethical sources and have already yielded dozens of cures and treatments.
The House and Senate each previously passed separate versions of the bills. Lawmakers crafted a compromise proposal and both chambers have signed off on it.
Aides to Romney told Rep. Bradford Hill, a Republican who opposes the bill, that he will still veto the bill.
Yet, Romney has conceded that he does not have enough votes in the legislature to uphold the veto.
”I will vote my conscience and will veto the current bill, but the game is over,” the governor said earlier this month.
Though the measure sailed through the Senate, some lawmakers who support it have concerns.
State Sen. Cynthia Creem, a Democrat, said during debate that she worried the sale of eggs collected from women for use in human cloning techniques would lead to the exploitation of poor women who need the money they receive as a result.
Rep. Hill agrees and told the Associated Press, "We wanted to take a little bit slower. We don’t want to see women abusing their bodies."
Pro-life groups oppose the bill because it would allow scientists to clone human embryos and destroy them to obtain their stem cells for research. It would also remove the requirement that research first obtain permission for studies involving embryonic stem cells.
They worry the legislation will become law despite Romney’s veto.
”We’re concerned that this is on a steamroll, and that members are being pressured by leadership and aren’t able to vote their conscience,” said Ron Crews of the Massachusetts Family Institute told the Patriot Ledger newspaper.
The compromise version of the bill gives the Massachusetts Department of Public Health some regulatory control, as long as it does not undermine the premise of the bill.
The legislature must be notified 60 days before a regulation takes effect and lawmakers can suggest changes to it.
Related web sites:
Massachusetts State Legislature – https://www.mass.gov/legis/legis.htm