Massachusetts Senate Rejects Romney Changes to Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 19, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Senate Rejects Romney Changes to Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 19, 2005

Boston, MA ( — The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday rejected changes to a bill that would promote unproven embryonic stem cell research in the Bay State.

The chamber voted to disapprove all four of Governor Mitt Romney’s proposed changes and sent the unaltered measure to the state House, expected to consider the measure today as well.

Romney hoped to prohibit the process of human cloning for research, calling it unethical.

The current bill, backed by scientists and research universities in the state, allows human cloning to create human embryos. The days-old unborn children will be destroyed for their stem cells.

Romney would have banned that human cloning practice and scientists who engaged in it could serve jail time for violating the ban.

He also wanted the legislature to favor the use of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells. While embryonic cells have yet to cure a single patient, adult stem cells have already produced dozens of treatments and cures.

According to an Associated Press report, Senate President Robert Travaglini said members of the Senate reviewed the alterations the governor submitted "and it’s the overwhelming consensus that the amendments were not viewed in a favorable way."

Both the state House and Senate approved the measure on lopsided votes, but Governor Romney sent the bill back with the changes he wanted made.

Romney promised not to veto the bill if they were adopted, but he will likely veto the measure if the House does not add his changes.

Last month, the Senate passed a similar version of the measure, 35-2, and the House passed it by a 117-37 margin.

Pro-life organizations, opposed to the destruction of human life in embryonic research, have unsuccessfully tried to defeat the legislation.

‘‘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,” 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 –