Massachusetts Adopts New Regulations on Human Cloning, Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Adopts New Regulations on Human Cloning, Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 30
, 2006

Boston, MA ( — The Massachusetts Public Health Council has adopted new regulations on human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The new rules are frustrating some Harvard University scientists who say they could expose scientists to criminal penalties for conducting certain research activities.

The council’s rules don’t restrict stem cell research but researchers at Partners Healthcare, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard worry that they prohibit scientists from engaging in some experiments that are carried out in other states.

They say they oppose language in the new rules that prohibits creating a human embryo only with the purpose of using it for research. They say the state didn’t intend for such a regulation.

However, according to the Boston Globe, MDPH Deputy General Counsel Melissa Lopes said the law the state legislature adopted gives the agency the authority to write regulations — including prohibiting the creation of human embryos solely for their destruction.

In May the state legislature overrode a veto of a bill by Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican and possible 2008 presidential candidate. The measure would prohibit human cloning for reproductive purposes but allowed it for scientific research.

The measure gave the state Department of Public Health some regulatory control over the research and required the creation of the MDPH.