Mitt Romney’s Wife Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Despite MS

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney’s Wife Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Despite MS Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16
, 2007

Boston, MA ( — It’s an issue that sets apart the Republican candidates for president. Pro-life voters want to know whether they not only oppose abortion but will they oppose killing days-old unborn children in embryonic stem cell research as well.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney opposes the practice but his wife Ann Romney said she shares her husbands opposition to it.

She opposes the practice even though she was diagnosed in 1998 with multiple sclerosis. For Romney, however, the decision is not a matter of finding a cure for her disease but whether its appropriate to sacrifice one human life for another.

"It is one of those life questions," she told the Boston Globe. "Is my life more important than a child’s, another child’s life, and I see it as a life that they would be experimenting on."

Mitt Romney says the issue of embryonic stem cell research was what shifted his abortion position. Though he’s come under criticism for the timing of his conversion, Romney says his confronting the bioethics issue caused him to see that lie had been "cheapened" since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

He mentioned his wife in April 2005 when he talked about his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.

"My wife has M.S., and we would love for there to be a cure for her disease and for the diseases of others," Romney explained, "but there is an ethical boundary that should not be crossed."

But he said that "some of the practices that Harvard and probably other institutions in Massachusetts are engaged in cross the line of ethical conduct."

Romney’s position is important because he faces two leading candidates, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who both support forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.

Some Republican presidential candidates like Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Tom Tancredo of Colorado oppose both abortion and embryonic stem cell research but former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson supports the latter.

During his tenure as governor, Romney vetoed a bill that would prohibit human cloning for reproductive purposes but allowed it for scientific research. The legislature eventually overrode the veto of the measure, which also clarified existing law to make it legal to conduct research with human embryonic stem cells.

Romney also came under fire from cloning advocates in December because he appointed an opponent of human cloning to a panel that authorizes grants for stem cell research.

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.

D’Elia backs embryonic stem cell research but opposes human cloning for reproductive and research purposes.