Massachusetts Council Repeals Romney-Era Stem Cell Research Limits

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Council Repeals Romney-Era Stem Cell Research Limits Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10,

Boston, MA ( — The Massachusetts Public Health Council has reversed a rule put in place during the gubernatorial administration of Mitt Romney that prohibited scientists from creating human embryos for the purpose of destroying them for research. Romney put the rule in place shortly before announcing his bid for the GOP nod for president.

The vote was no surprise as the panel members are comprised of those appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, who promised he would undo the Romney rule when he ran in 2006.

Harold Cox, an associate dean at Boston University School of Public Health, claims letting scientists create and kill human beings for research would advance science in the state.

"It’s important for us to be as competitive as possible and allow research to occur," he told the Boston Globe.

He said that the Romney-era rule made it so researchers worried about doing studies on embryonic stem cells donated or sold to them from other states. Cox said some scientists refused to conduct research on some cells for fearing legal reprisal.

Pro-life groups, including Massachusetts Citizens for Life and the Massachusetts Family Institute, were upset by the decision and they had lobbied for the rule to remain in place.

"The unfortunate action of the state Public Health Council to amend the Romney regulations by removing the restriction on embryonic stem cell research casts a vote for unethical scientific research," MCFL president Dr. Mildred F. Jefferson told the newspaper.

"[It] raises false hope of ill people desperately seeking cures by suggesting to them that their future treatment lies in embryonic stem cell research," she added.