Massachusetts Gov Romney Appoints Stem Cell Research Panel Director

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 1, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Gov Romney Appoints Stem Cell Research Panel Director Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 1
, 2006

Boston, MA ( — Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2008, has appointed an opponent of human cloning to a panel that authorizes grants for stem cell research. The appointment is drawing criticism from backers of allowing human cloning for research purposes.

Romney appointed Aaron D’Elia, an assistant secretary in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, to be the executive director of the stem cell research board.

According to an AP report, the board members of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center approved the appointment on a 4-1 vote. The panel was created by the state legislature to oversee stem cell research grants.

The report said that, while he supports some embryonic stem cell research, D’Elia opposes attempts from scientists to use human cloning to create human embryos specifically for their destruction for their stem cells.

That isn’t going over well with some embryonic stem cell research backers.

University of Massachusetts president Jack Wilson voted against the appointment and pro-abortion Gov.-elect Deval Patrick opposed it as well.

Patrick adviser Doug Rubin chastised Romney in an interview with the Boston Globe, saying, "By Gov. Romney moving ahead and quickly filling the appointment, it really takes away Gov.-elect Patrick’s ability to implement his agenda."

D’Elia told the Associated Press he was "comfortable about what I bring to the table," saying his economic background would be helpful.

"I’m going to be very open to working with Gov. Patrick, and I hope he’s open to working with me," he added.

Romney’s appointment of D’Elia lasts for one year while a search is conducted for a more permanent director.

In May the state legislature overrode a Romney veto of a bill that would prohibit human cloning for reproductive purposes but allowed it for scientific research. Romney vetoed the bill saying his examination of stem cell research issues led him to revise his stance and adding that he now is pro-life on the issue of abortion.